Never do anything stupid, says brave cop who survived dramatic gun battle with post office robbers

18 December 2019 - 21:54 By Orrin Singh
Warrant Officer Robert Holmes of the Westville SAPS has been honoured with a special award for bravery after a shootout with a heavily armed gang of business robbers at a mall last month.
Warrant Officer Robert Holmes of the Westville SAPS has been honoured with a special award for bravery after a shootout with a heavily armed gang of business robbers at a mall last month.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Warrant Officer Robert Holmes of the Westville SAPS in Durban comes across as unassuming. But don't be fooled by his timidness; this cop is a force to be reckoned with.

Holmes was honoured with a special award for bravery at the KwaZulu-Natal provincial SAPS awards, held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban on Wednesday evening.

This after he battled it out with a gang of armed men during a business robbery at a mall in Westville last month.

Footage of the incident, which went viral, shows Holmes firing at the alleged robbers on November 28. In the video clip, they shoot back at him, with one bullet narrowly missing his right shoulder.

Undaunted, he rolls over, moves to another location and continues to fire at the suspects.

A bakkie, believed to be the getaway vehicle, is then seen speeding away. Holmes stands his ground and continues to fire.

For the police officer, who has 29 years' experience in the force, it was nothing more than a day's work.

Speaking to TimesLIVE, he detailed the events of that day.

“At the time the incident happened I was at the police station doing office duties. A member of the public ran into the police station informing us of a robbery in progress, which fortunately was not too far from the police station, so we could respond in time, before the suspects left the premises,” he said.

A screenshot of the viral video in which Warrant Officer Robert Holmes engages in a gun battle with heavily armed business robbers at a mall in Westville. A plume of dust can be seen behind his right shoulder where a bullet narrowly misses him and hits the dirt.
A screenshot of the viral video in which Warrant Officer Robert Holmes engages in a gun battle with heavily armed business robbers at a mall in Westville. A plume of dust can be seen behind his right shoulder where a bullet narrowly misses him and hits the dirt.
Image: Screenshot

Holmes said when they responded to the scene, the robbers opened fire at them and a gun battle ensued.

He said he wasn't in the least bit phased that the robbers may have been armed with heavy artillery.

“Every scenario you go into, especially where there's a number of business robbery suspects, their sole aim is to get the money and to get out of the scene. And whatever force they require to use to get out, they will use that force. There are no constraints,” he said.

Holmes urged the public to first ensure their safety and the safety of others when faced with such a situation.

“You may think that you're standing [far] away from the actual scene, but rounds [bullets] can travel a long distance and you can be hit by a ricochet. If you can see what's happening, you're in danger. Never put your life in danger. The primary aim is to survive every situation. And never do anything stupid,” he said.


X