K9 officer shot while tracking robbers

A Port Elizabeth K9 unit officer who was chasing four robbery suspects through the bushes near Forest Hill has been hospitalised after a security guard allegedly shot him in the arm with a shotgun.

Fidelity Security guard Thando Ndongeni, 26, was arrested for shooting at the police and appeared yesterday in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, where he was released on R500 bail.

The shooting happened at about 8pm on Thursday at the Driftsands Waste Water Treatment Works in the dense bush near Forest Hill while K9 unit Sergeant Thembile Gaba, 28, and other police and security officials, were chasing robbery suspects.

Gaba was admitted to St George’s Hospital for treatment while another security guard sustained less serious wounds from shrapnel.

Officials on the scene said chaos had erupted while they were chasing four men, armed with knives, who allegedly robbed a person in Summerstrand at about 6pm.

Police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said by 8.30pm, police and security officials had still been tracking the men through the bush.

“The robbery was reported in Galpin Street in Summerstrand and led to police and security officials tracking the suspects through the bush to the Driftsands reservoir [Driftsands Waste Water Treatment Works]. “

Naidu said Gaba had seen a guardhouse on the premises and noticed someone was inside.

“The police official identified himself and beckoned to the guard to open the door.

“He [Ndongeni] refused and as the member attempted to open the door, the guard [allegedly] fired a shot at him.

“The member sustained a shotgun wound to his right shoulder,” she said. Gaba has undergone surgery. The Waste Water Treatment Works has faced several robberies where guards were disarmed and tied up.

“It remains unknown why he [Ndongeni] fired the shot without verifying if the people were police officials,” Naidu added.

Naidu confirmed the officers had been in official uniform.

Ndongeni is due to reappear in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on May 8.

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