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One of the province’s most-wanted criminals was captured after he fled in a dramatic shoot-out and escape from the Lansdowne police station over the weekend.
The search ended on Monday when police, following a tip-off, tracked down 26-year-old Igshaan Dyers in Manenberg, according to provincial police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.
He was taken back to the Lansdowne police station where police announced his arrest to the media with Dyers present.
Dyers is set to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
He had been arrested last week for possession of alleged stolen items.
Dyers was also listed as one of the Western Cape’s most-wanted for several prior charges of housebreaking and theft, added Van Wyk.
His charge sheet now includes escape from lawful custody, robbery and assault of a police officer.
Dyers’s arrest comes after he and four others tried to escape from the Lansdowne police station on Sunday morning. The events unfolded during a routine check of the holding cells by cleaners who were accompanied by a policeman.
“Apparently one of the suspects wrestled the keys from the officer, then took them and opened the cells where the other inmates were kept. All five attempted to escape and police gave chase,” said the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (Ipid) Moses Dlamini.
One of the men was shot dead and three were rearrested.
One of the officers remained in hospital after his arm was broken during the escape attempt, said Van Wyk.
Dyers had been the only one who managed to make a getaway. Dlamini said a case of murder and attempted murder would be investigated.
According to witness accounts, the men had slipped through a broken section of the police’s garage and jumped over the vibracrete, ending in Edinille Close. Hot in pursuit of the suspects, a female police officer had allegedly opened fire.
Another female tenant, who declined to be named, viewed the incident from her flat’s balcony on the first floor.
“It was like in the movies. It was pouring with rain and just bullets flying everywhere. At first I thought it was rubber bullets because it sounded like firecrackers. I was so frightened and luckily my kids were not playing at the gate,” the woman said.
She and her sons, aged four and two, witnessed the suspect being shot in the abdomen and his body being removed about five hours later.
While she acknowledged the men were criminals, she condemned the police’s actions for opening fire on the “unarmed” men.
“You should punish them but not kill them. When the ambulance came he was still alive, but they didn’t even give him oxygen. They were firing blind shots and one of the kids could have been hit. They way they were carrying on with the guns was unreal,” she said.
Shocked witness tells of shooting
A witness to the escape, Nerissa Heights tenant Stewart Mukanwa, 33, managed to help police nab one of the men.
He said the suspect had tried to duck into a storage room at the block of flats to escape the hail of bullets.
“I was standing with three of my friends when we suddenly heard a huge noise and screaming coming from the police station. Suddenly we saw the men jump through the space of a broken panel of the (police) station’s garage door. They then jumped over the vibracrete. A female officer came running and then more officers. One ran away and the other one was shot. When the other guy heard the gunshots he tried to run inside the storage room and then I went and pushed him out and the police got him,” said Mukanwa.
He believed the suspect had panicked when he saw the other suspect gunned down.
“I was so scared. It was really shocking to see someone die in front of you… I couldn’t even sleep that night,” he said.