Children shot in PE streets

NO FURTHER: The bullet-riddled getaway vehicle stands in Gumpert Street, Schauderville following the shootout with police.Picture: GARETH WILSON
NO FURTHER: The bullet-riddled getaway vehicle stands in Gumpert Street, Schauderville following the shootout with police.Picture: GARETH WILSON

Little boy wounded in gang warfare Schoolgirl hit in cop-chase drama

TWO Nelson Mandela Bay children have been wounded – with one fighting for his life in hospital – after being caught up separately in wild street shootings between gangsters, criminals and police yesterday.

An eight-year-old boy is in a critical condition after being hit in the chest by a stray bullet in the latest gang shooting in the northern areas.

Earlier, a dramatic shootout and car chase through the streets of the city left a 13-year-old schoolgirl and three robbery suspects wounded.

In this incident, three men driving in a VW Golf allegedly attempted to hijack a British American Tobacco truck in New Brighton shortly after 8am, leading to the car chase and gunfight.

Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the wounding of the boy was a result of rival gangs shooting at each other on the corner of Pienaar Street and Ambraal Road in Helenvale.

“Two rival gang members fired several shots at each other while running away. One of the bullets hit the child in the chest,” she said.

Relay Ambulance operations manager and paramedic Richard Moodie said they had found the wounded boy lying inside his house.

“It appears he was playing in the garden when he was struck by a bullet,” Moodie said.

“After being struck in the chest, he was taken inside by his mother who alerted us.”

Moodie said the boy was in a critical condition in Greenacres Hospital.

The earlier foiled hijacking, which started in Singapi Street, ended in a shootout, with the suspects wounded and arrested in Gumpert Street, Schauderville, which borders Newton Park.

The car, riddled with bullet holes, came to a stop in Gumpert Street after police managed to shoot out the back and other windows.

Grade 8 schoolgirl Esethu Khema, who was walking with a classmate to the nearby Qaphelani Senior Secondary School in Kulati Road, was caught in the crossfire and shot in the leg.

“I was just walking when I heard gunshots. I did not know what to do,” a distraught Esethu said.

“I did not realise immediately that I had been hit, but I felt a pain in my leg and when I looked down, I saw blood rushing from my leg and I knew something was wrong,” She passed out at the sight of the blood. “My body is still sore as well as my leg, but I am glad I am alive,” Esethu said.

Esethu, who was admitted to hospital, said she was worried that she had to miss school.

Her friend, who cannot be named as he is a minor, said: “I was scared and ran away into a nearby garden to hide.”

Esethu’s mother, Ncumisa, was panic-stricken when told her daughter had been shot.

“I was going out of my mind. I could not think straight. The only thing going through my mind was that my daughter was going to die. I collapsed,” she said.

“My daughter has to walk far every day to get to school. I fear for her safety now.”

School principal Mandisi Mvimbeli said they heard several shots shortly after school started and the deputy principal went to the scene, where he saw that Esethu had been shot in the leg.

“The pupils and teachers are all shocked. It is just too close to the school,” Mvimbeli said. “We have addressed everyone to calm their nerves.”

He described Esethu as a dedicated pupil with a promising future and said they were grateful she escaped with her life.

Police spokesman Constable Mncedi Mbombo said: “A complaint of a suspicious vehicle in the area was received prior to the shootout. The occupants of the Golf attempted to push the truck off the road a short while after the complaint was called in.

“A police vehicle and tactical response team members were already nearby and gave chase.

“During the car chase down Mbilini Street the robbers fired shots at the police, who returned fire,” he said. “The police officials stopped when they saw the girl lying in the road, while the tactical response team members continued the chase.”

The vehicle went around a police roadblock outside the New Brighton police station in Mati Road, with the robbers firing at police as they passed.

The chase ended in Schauderville, with the three wounded suspects, aged between 26 and 32, placed in Livingstone Hospital under police guard.

Police and forensic experts cordoned off the area but failed to find firearms inside the Golf.

“It is suspected the robbers threw the firearms out of the window in the car chase,” he said.

Officials said the forensic unit would be testing the suspects’ hands for gunshot residue.

A Department of Health spokesman said one of the suspects was shot twice in the upper body and would be transferred to ICU after surgery.

“The other two have multiple gunshot wounds but are in a stable condition,” he said.

-Gareth Wilson and Amir Chetty


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