Ward councillor witnesses Hillbrow theatre shootout

29 August 2017 - 14:58 By Nico Gous
Bullets. File photo.
Bullets. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Thinkstock

A ward councillor witnessed a shootout between the suspect accused of the Hillbrow theatre shooting and a security guard minutes before he was arrested on Sunday.

DA ward councillor Tracey Lourenco was on her way to a baby shower at about 10am on Sunday with her daughter Samantha‚ 30‚ and her seven- and three-year-old grandsons.

She took the slipway off Modderfontein Road and was driving between Greenstone Mall and Stoneridge Centre in Edenvale in Ekurhuleni. She stopped short of a traffic circle when an alleged robber and a security guard ran in front of her car.

The security guard was chasing the suspect who turned around intermittently and fired at the security guard with his handgun.

“You could see the bullets hitting the ground. We could see the grass and the stones flying.”

She said her seven-year-old grandson started screaming: “I want to go home‚ take me home!”

The robber was crossing the road and dashing in the direction of the Stoneridge Centre.

Lourenco said if she had entered the traffic circle‚ the “shots would have been in my car”.

She could not reverse‚ because cars were lining up behind her.

Lourenco started panicking when the robber turned around to shoot‚ because she and her family were caught up in an armed robbery about three years ago and were almost hijacked about a year ago.

“I’ve been through a lot. I lost it.”

Lourenco wants to organise counselling for her grandson. She believes her three-year-old grandson was unaware of what was happening.

The robber was wounded and arrested. He and four other robbers tried to rob the Telkom shop in the Greenstone Mall.

Gauteng Police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said in a statement on Monday the suspect‚ 33‚ was arrested and under police guard at the Thembisa Hospital .

Dlamini said the robber was the man suspected to have killed one person and injured seven other people at the Hillbrow theatre in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He had jumped on the stage at the Hillbrow theatre‚ interrupted the band and demanded his cell phone back. It had allegedly been stolen.

He then fired randomly into the crowd.

Lourenco said her first thought when she made the connection between the two incidents was: “How brazen.”

The suspect has been charged with murder‚ attempted murder‚ armed robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

The other four robbers are still on the run.