Nelson Mandela Bay anti-gang unit cop fighting for life

CENTRE OF GANGLAND: The scene in front of Hillcrest Primary School in Helenvale where an SAPS anti-gang unit member was shot in the head during a car chase and shootout
CENTRE OF GANGLAND: The scene in front of Hillcrest Primary School in Helenvale where an SAPS anti-gang unit member was shot in the head during a car chase and shootout
Image: WERNER HILLS

A routine patrol by the Port Elizabeth anti-gang unit rapidly developed into a shoot-out in Helenvale on Thursday night, with one of four officers shot in the head and critically injured.

The unit members were in two marked vehicles in the area when they spotted a silver VW Polo along Kobus Road and followed it.

According to national SAPS spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo, the occupants of the Polo spotted the police and sped off, resulting in a high-speed chase.

“The incident happened [on Thursday night] at about 9.45pm.

“The occupants of the VW Polo drove into a cul-de-sac in Chamois Street and stopped,” Naidoo said.

Six occupants got out of the vehicle and opened fire, leading to a shoot-out.

“Two of the passengers were armed with firearms and fired at the police.

“One suspect sustained gunshot wounds to his shoulder and chest.

“A 33-year-old constable was wounded in his head.

“He was rushed in a police vehicle to a local hospital,” Naidoo said.

Health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo confirmed the constable was admitted to hospital, and that he  and the injured perpetrator were  being treated in different hospitals.

While the Weekend Post team were in Chamois Street on Friday morning, a woman who did not want to be named gave them a stern warning to leave the scene as it was in the “centre of gangland”.

“I want to tell you now to leave this place because it’s not safe — down below the hill it’s a battle between the Boomshaka gang and another gang and above the hill there is another gang called the Sestien Honde [16 Dogs]”.

Asked if she had heard about the shooting, she said she would not comment on the incident.

“What I can tell you is that I am taking my four sons away from Hillcrest Primary because two years ago the gangs came into the school and shot at each other in the yard.

“This place has become very dangerous and I worry about their safety,” she said, before hurrying off.

Before midday Hillcrest Primary, which is along Chamois Street, had shut its doors.

Provincial education spokesperson Malibongwe Mtima said the school was closed because it had had its prize-giving at the Helenvale Resource Centre on Friday.

The injured SAPS member is in ICU and the perpetrator is in a stable condition.

Naidoo said four suspects aged between 20 and 28 were arrested on charges of attempted murder.

“It is further alleged that two other suspects managed to escape the scene of the crime,” Naidoo said.

The arrested suspects are expected to appear in court soon.

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