Stolen police firearm found after shot fired
Two shopkeepers who allegedly shot at a man during an argument outside their shop in Kwazakhele are believed to have used a stolen police firearm.
The firearm has been traced to the robbery of a Knysna police officer who was robbed in Stanford Road, Port Elizabeth, in July 2016.
In July and August 2016, at least 14 firearms were stolen in a spate of robberies targeting police and traffic and security company officials.
The weapon was recovered after shopkeepers Ali Muhammed Mohammed 27, and Bile Hussein Nur, 22, were arrested on Friday after they allegedly tried to shoot a client who was arguing with them.
They were charged in the New Brighton Magistrate’s Court on Monday with attempted murder and the possession of a stolen police firearm and ammunition.
Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the men were offloading stock when a client wanted to buy something from their shop.
An argument followed their telling the client to wait, after which one of the shopkeepers allegedly took out a firearm and fired a shot.
“Fortunately the victim was not hit,” he said. A case of attempted murder was opened.
“A search of the store led to police finding a 9mm cartridge on the scene, and the firearm hidden behind a toilet in the shop. Both shopkeepers were arrested,” he said.
The firearm was stolen from the policeman, 46, when he stopped on the N2 on July 31 2016 after seeing someone lying next to the road.
“When he got out of his vehicle [at the Stanford Road bridge], two gunmen ambushed him,” police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.No arrests had previously been made in the two-year-old case.
Beetge said the weapon had been sent to the forensic laboratory to determine whether it had been used in other crimes.
He said detectives needed to establish how the men came into possession of the firearm.
Further charges could be added.
Both Mohammed and Nur were kept in custody for a bail application in the same court, to be heard on June 20.
In another incident on Monday, a 53-year-old man – who has been on the run from police since last year – was caught standing near a tavern in Makubalo Street, Kwazakhele.
Beetge said police had received a tip-off that the man had a firearm.
“On arriving, the man was searched and an unlicensed firearm and 11 rounds of ammunition were found on him.
“The serial number of the firearm was filed off, but the weapon is believed to have been stolen,” he said.
“The firearm has since been sent for forensic analysis to determine its origin as well as if it was used in other crimes.”
Beetge confirmed that the man was wanted in Addo for a robbery dating back to last year.