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Pretoria - An Algerian man is fighting for his life after he was shot four times from behind, at close range, during a business meeting at Parrots restaurant in Menlyn shopping mall.
The alleged shooter, also from Algeria, was arrested moments later by Parrots management and a member of the public who followed him to the exit. “I will tell my story in court,” the alleged shooter said as he was handed over to mall security.
Parrots manager Wayne Koning said the incident happened at about 2pm. Shoppers scattered as the sound of gunfire echoed through the mall. “The restaurant was half full when an unknown man casually walked in and opened fire on one of our customers,” he said.
Koning said moments before the shooting, two customers were sitting at table 26 when the man approached them. “He waited for the waiter to turn around and he then fired four shots into the back of the man sitting at the table.
“The victim was hit in the neck and back. The man slumped and fell off his chair on to the floor.
“The shooter placed the gun into a plastic bag, turned around and casually walked out,” Koning said.
Koning said he and three colleagues followed the man and apprehended him at the exit. “He was not aggressive at all and basically handed himself over,” he said.
Koning said some of the employees, “shaken up” by the incident, were receiving counselling. “Fortunately no one else was injured.”
Police spokeswoman Annabelle Middelton said it is alleged that the motive behind the shooting was a “business deal gone wrong”.
The victim was in a meeting with an interpreter who works at the Argentinean Embassy. It is believed she had translated some documents for the victim, Middelton said.
The man was rushed to the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and he was in a critical condition.
“A suspect, 44, was arrested. He was found in possession of an unlicensed firearm. A case of attempted murder has been opened,” she said.
An I-Store employee, Kage Mataboge, said he he heard the shots. “At first I thought it was a waiter who had dropped something but when the next three shots rang out I thought we were being robbed. Shoppers scattered and caused a stampede outside Parrots.”
Employees of Clarks, opposite Parrots, said they heard the shots but were too scared to run out to see what was going on.
PR manager for the mall Leonie White said the situation at the centre was back to normal.