Johannesburg - Witkoppen Road in Fourways was once again a crime scene on Thursday morning, with a high-speed police chase landing a man in hospital and another in custody following an intense shoot-out at about 3am.
A man living in the Lonehill area said he heard multiple gunshots ringing out early on Thursday morning and by dawn, a bullet-riddled Honda Civic bore the evidence.
The silver Honda Civic had crashed into and twisted the green palisade fence that surrounded a nearby empty lot on Witkoppen Road, blood dripping from the passenger’s seat.
The destroyed back windscreen of the car lay next to the abandoned vehicle, with the front windscreen smashed but still intact.
What attracted the most attention from passers-by was the large dried pool of blood on the passenger’s side of the car, and the 10 bullet holes on its back and left side.
The bullets appeared to be smaller than 9mm rounds, indicating that officers must have used their standard issue R5 rifles, according to a specialist at the scene who declined to be named.
By 9.15am, a police vehicle remained at the scene, waiting for the car to be towed.
While traffic had been badly affected earlier on, it was flowing by 9am as police finished clearing the scene.
By 8.30am, #Fourwaysshooting was trending on Twitter, with most users blaming police for being “trigger happy”.
But Douglasdale police spokesman, Warrant Officer Balan Muthan, said the car’s occupants shot at the police first.
The chase began with Randburg police patrolling through their area and noticing a suspicious vehicle which had no licence plates.
When the officers tried to pull it over, the man driving it sped off, with police in hot pursuit, said Muthan.
After following the car through Randburg, into Douglasdale, other police vehicles from the area also joined in the chase.
It was as the vehicle made its way onto Witkoppen Road that the car’s occupants allegedly opened fire on the police as the driver swerved along the road.
Police fired back, wounding the driver and forcing him off the road.
Muthan said the man had been arrested and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
But in another statement, Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said no firearms were found in the Honda so it was unclear what had happened to the firearms allegedly used to shoot at the officers.
Thursday morning’s incident was the second on Witkoppen Road to make headlines this week.
On Wednesday a man appeared in court for assaulting another motorist in a road-rage incident on Sunday.