Durban factory worker escapes shootout between ‘kerels’ and robbers

28 August 2017 - 17:04
By Jeff Wicks
Police cordon off an area outside the Value Centre in Springfield after a shootout with would-be cash-in-transit robbers.
Image: Jeff Wicks Police cordon off an area outside the Value Centre in Springfield after a shootout with would-be cash-in-transit robbers.

A Parlock factory worker – caught in the crossfire during a gun battle between police and cash-in-transit robbers in Durban on Monday – recounted the moment he had a brush with death.

The man‚ who spoke to TimesLIVE on condition of anonymity‚ said that he had gone outside the factory to enjoy a meal in the sunlight.

“There were lots of shots…too many‚” he said.

It was in this quiet cul-de-sac where workers from neighbouring businesses gathered that the final showdown between robbers and police played out.

When the shooting stopped‚ five men had been killed in two separate crime scenes that stretched kilometres across the city. A sixth man died in hospital. In addition four civilians were injured in the crossfire.

“It was lunch time so we came to get something to chow outside here‚” he said.

“The kerels [police] came and then we saw the Mercedes. They (robbers) were shooting at the cops and at us and the cops were shooting at them‚” he added.

He said that he and his colleagues had fled for their lives as the salvos of fire were traded.

“We were running away…the police took this one guy on the floor because they thought he was a suspect. They let us all go after that.”

The deadly face-off had begun in Springfield Park’s Value centre‚ where a heavily armed gang of men attempted to rob an armoured car collecting money.

A well-placed police source said that members of the Crime Intelligence Unit and the Hawks had acted on a tip-off about the heist.

Along with heavily armed tactical police from the National Intervention Unit‚ they engaged the gang.

A gunman was killed at the scene‚ one well placed shot from a policeman knocking the magazine right out of his rifle.

His bullet-riddled body lay on the pavement‚ surrounded by expended bullet casings.

One of his alleged cohorts lay wounded nearby.

Strapped to his legs were bags of an unknown muti‚ meant to make him impervious to bullets.

He later died in Addington Hospital.

Remaining gang members then led police to the scene of a second shootout in Parlock.

Rescue Care spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said paramedics had declared four men‚ understood to be robbers‚ dead at the scene.

He said four men were injured in the crossfire. They appeared to have been sitting at the roadside having lunch when the fleeing gunmen crashed their car nearby – with police hot on their heels.

A number of Parlock residents gathered at the second scene‚ a cordoned off factory‚ as police investigated.