N2 shootout be­tween po­lice and armed sus­pects

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - TANYA WATERWORTH, ARTHI GOPI and DUN­CAN GUY

THOU­SANDS of mo­torists were trapped in traf­fic un­til late yes­ter­day evening after a shootout be­tween po­lice and sus­pects which shut the N2 free­way and grid­locked Dur­ban and sur­rounds.

Last night po­lice spokesper­son Bri­gadier Jay Naicker said foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors were still at the scene and all five sus­pects in­volved in the chase and shoot­ing were ac­counted for, with three dead and two ar­rested.

“Three weapons were found at the scene but we are not dis­count­ing that weapons could have been dis­carded in the bush,” said Naidoo.

The chase along the free­way started after po­lice were tipped-off the sus­pects were on their way to com­mit a rob­bery.

Po­lice spot­ted the Mercedes-Benz con­tain­ing five sus­pects around mid­day and ver­i­fied the car had been hi­jacked from Reser­voir Hills.

As the cars raced along the free­way, the gang opened fire on the po­lice ve­hi­cle as it closed in on them.

The Mercedes col­lided with the po­lice ve­hi­cle and both ve­hi­cles rolled.

Po­lice con­firmed they had opened fire on the sus­pects. Two were killed. A third was ar­rested at the crash scene and two oth­ers ran into the bush.

A woman in her six­ties sus­tained mod­er­ate in­juries when her car was hit. She was taken to hospi­tal.

A wit­ness at the scene, Brad Gar­diner, said last night: “I was com­ing back from a meet­ing in uMh­langa Rocks, not re­ally pay­ing much at­ten­tion to what was go­ing on around me. Then about 600m in front of me, I saw dust. I didn’t see the cars take off and land, just dust and peo­ple run­ning. I was still quite a way back and we now know what was hap­pen­ing.

“There was a guy with gloves on his hands, he was a bit bug­gered up… then an am­bu­lance tried to get through… the cops were jump­ing the bar­rier, chas­ing the guys. A cou­ple of other un­marked cars pulled up next to me. They got out, they were big chaps... there was a lot of ac­tion. Peo­ple stopped to try to help. Guys (po­lice) on the scene were telling peo­ple to get back into their cars and move along. I didn’t see the shots, I was just out of reach, it was all so quick,” he said.

Po­lice units from across the city, in­clud­ing the Hawks, Na­tional In­ter­ven­tion Unit (NIU) and K9 Dog Unit, con­verged on the scene.

The N2 was closed on both sides as po­lice tracked the two sus­pects in the bush, re­sult­ing in a mas­sive traf­fic back-up across Dur­ban as mo­torists bat­tled to find al­ter­na­tive routes home for the week­end.

In the early evening, po­lice con­firmed that the two re­main­ing sus­pects had been found. One had died from sus­pected in­juries, while the sec­ond man was ar­rested.

Po­lice re­mained tightlipped last night as to the sus­pected des­ti­na­tion of the gang of armed men.

Bri­gadier Naicker con­firmed that two po­lice of­fi­cers had been in­jured in the in­ci­dent.

The free­way was opened at about 6pm.

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