Manhunt after gang shoots at cop

Wanted suspect held for separate attack on policemen

A man wanted for allegedly shooting at the police in Port Elizabeth was arrested yesterday, while a task team is working around the clock to track down a gang which attacked another policeman in a separate incident.

A manhunt, involving detectives and tactical response teams, was launched on Friday night, after a gang of between 12 and 15 armed robbers shot at a policeman who was parked outside the Swartkops SPAR in Grahamstown Road.

A few hours earlier, police came under fire in New Brighton from a suspect wanted for a previous attack on police officers.

Several people have been taken in for questioning following the shootings.

“No wanted suspect will remain on the run forever,” provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga said. “We have also noted with great concern that our police officers always come under attack when approaching armed suspects.

“Police will defend themselves if attacked.”

Two weeks ago, at a memorial service for five officers killed in the Ngcobo police station ambush, Police Minister Bheki Cele called on police to use maximum force to defend themselves where necessary.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the SPAR robbery happened at about 6.30am on Friday.

The gang arrived in separate vehicles, a VW Golf and a bakkie, and simultaneously entered the supermarket and adjoining Tops Liquors.

“They held the staff at gunpoint and demanded money from the tellers, and stole cigarettes and liquor,” he said.

“While the robbery was under way, a police official stopped at the centre to go to the SPAR.

“As he came to a stop in the car park, the robbers ran out of the shops.”

Beetge said the gang then confronted the policeman – before he could get out of the car – and demanded his firearm.

“The policeman did not have a firearm and the gang pulled him out of the police van and assaulted and kicked him, before firing several shots at him.

“All the shots were at extremely close range but managed to miss him.”

The suspects then jumped into their vehicles and sped off.

A manager at the centre, who did not want to be named, said the entire ordeal lasted only a few minutes.

“The robbery took three minutes but it felt like a lifetime. It was very well organised – they were only after the money,” he said. “About five customers were robbed as well.

“When they [robbers] entered the shop, they made us all lie down on the floor at gunpoint. One robber stood over me with a gun to the back of my head.”

The man said he thought they were going to kill him.

“You lie there waiting for the shot to go off. It was a terrifying experience.

“When they realised they could not get into the tills, they pulled me up and told me to open the tills.

“Then the police van pulled up and the robbers got side-tracked.”

Asked how the staff were, he said: “We are all still rattled and shaken up. The panic button was pressed numerous times during the robbery – the security company just missed them by about a minute.”

About four hours earlier, three police officials were involved in a shootout with Ludumo “Dumza” Ndongeni, 26, who was wanted for allegedly shooting at police the previous weekend in New Brighton during a stop-and-search operation.

On Friday afternoon, police were tipped off that Ndongeni had been spotted in Madikane Street, New Brighton.

“He was standing across the road from Ekasi Panel Beaters when the police arrived and opened fire,” Beetge said.

“Ndongeni was shot in the leg in the ensuing shootout as he fled.”

He then allegedly hijacked a jikeleza driver in Salamntu Street, Kwazakhele.

“When the vehicle stopped, the driver managed to jump out and run, but was shot in the leg.”

Ndongeni was eventually arrested at 8am yesterday in Motherwell with another man, 33, and a woman, 22.

“The three were nabbed while driving around in a VW Polo.” Beetge said a stolen gun was found in the car.

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