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Durban - An eManzimtoti man is recovering in hospital after he was shot by a pair of bandits who tried to hold him up in his home early on Thursday.
Martin Blackbeard, 55, who was shot in the arm and chest, has become the latest statistic in a spate of home break-ins to hit the South Coast region.
Yesterday, surgeons at Kingsway Hospital spent several hours repairing his hand, which was shattered by a bullet that also pierced his upper chest.
His wife, Julie, said he was lucky to be alive.
“He was actually shot at twice, but the gun jammed the first time. If that had gone off, he would have been dead for sure,” she said.
The drama unfolded early yesterday, shortly after Blackbeard opened the door to his Syringa Avenue home.
“Two men who were hiding behind the wall of the lapa jumped out. My husband shouted at them to leave and that is when the guy pulled out the gun and shot at him and the gun jammed,” Julie said.
She said that a second man ran towards her and demanded she not touch anything.
“I told him to go to hell and grabbed keys that had the panic remote and ran to the bedroom where my 80-year-old mother-in-law was and locked the door.”
She said she pressed the panic alarm and heard a gunshot.
“The man with the gun shot Martin through the sliding door. They eventually jumped over the wall and ran away.
“We suspect that they got into a car that was parked in the road,” she said.
The police and armed security arrived four minutes later, but the men had already fled.
Julie said it was the second time they had been attacked in six months.
“A neighbour was recently hijacked at gunpoint, and four days ago my neighbour’s house across the road had its gate bashed down by armed men. The maid hid upstairs while the men robbed the house downstairs,” she said.
The ordeal had left her shaken.
“I am quite terrified... I am not sure if I want to stay here any more,” she said.
George Snodey, a local volunteer crime fighter with the Community Crime Prevention Organisation, said house break-ins and hijackings had spiked in the area recent months.
“Last year alone there were over 100 in a small area in Toti,” he said.
“There is so much bush that the suspects can run into and disappear and that is what makes them so hard to catch.
“What this area desperately needs is a dedicated dog unit that can follow the suspects into the bush.
“There is only one dog unit in the South and most times when we call for them they are out at other scenes either in the Bluff or Umlazi,” he said.
Police are investigating the incident.