Paramedic also shot dead in New Brighton
THERE were scenes of shock and anguish in Port Elizabeth’s New Brighton township last night when two friends – a paramedic and an off-duty policeman – were gunned down in what appeared to be a planned attack.
The policeman, a 39-year-old sergeant from the Mount Road police station, who is believed to live in Algoa Park, died at the scene while his friend, also 39, was declared dead on arrival at Livingstone Hospital shortly after the attack.
The shooting took place between 7pm and 7.30pm in Tshangana Street, about a kilometre from the Nangoza Jebe Hall in the historic Port Elizabeth area.
A heavy police presence, involving a number of police units including forensics experts, was still at the scene at 11pm.
While details around the shooting were still sketchy late last night, both official police spokesmen and officers at the scene confirmed that the two men were shot as they stood chatting in the short driveway directly outside the paramedic’s home.
The policeman was visiting his friend at his home at the time.
The identities of the two victims will not be released until their next of kin have been informed of their deaths.
Confirming the incident, provincial police spokesman Brigadier Marinda Mills said the motive for the attack had not yet been determined, but police would establish a task team to investigate the incident.
“We will leave no stone unturned in this investigation. The SAPS sends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of the two victims,” she said.
Mills would not be drawn into any speculation around the attack, which included whether the attack had been a “drive-by” shooting or whether it was related to any taxi operations as a number of minibus taxis were noted around the scene.
“At this stage, we can only say that the policeman was visiting his friend, shots were fired by an unknown number of suspects, and someone alerted the police who then rushed to the scene.
“Information is very limited at this stage and the preliminary investigation is still in progress.
“A formal statement will be released in due course,” Mills said. Scores of residents, many in their dressing gowns and pyjamas, formed groups outside the extensive police cordon which had been thrown around the scene and encompassed houses on both sides of the house where the shooting took place.
Dozens of vehicles blocked the road for more than 100m in each direction as police officers took statements from neighbours.
While the groups of bystanders milled around, shocked at the brutally violent attack, an anguished woman in tears was escorted from the area. At one point a man, who bystanders said was a relative of one of the victims, broke down in the garage area in front of where the body lay.
He was quickly approached by police trying to stop any contamination of the area where the shooting took place. While at least three residents said they had heard shots being fired, none was prepared to discuss the incident or give any information about the shooting victim who lived there, saying they were too afraid to speak out.
One resident said the street was a dangerous place. Other residents were heard debating whether the attacker or attackers had been on foot or in a vehicle.
The body of the policeman, who was wearing a maroon and blue top and blue trousers, lay at the scene for some time as forensics experts placed scores of markers around it.
Blood, from what appeared to be a head wound, ran down the driveway into the street.
A police officer at the scene, who spoke off the record, said he believed that a handgun was used in the attack, while the markers set out by police at the scene appeared to indicate the men were shot at close range.