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The flying Squad constable was a car-length away when the armed robbers burst from the back door of the flat.
There were six of them, shooting as they ran. The constable returned fire with her R5 rifle.
“The other policemen were shouting ‘Shoot back! Shoot them!’ This lady was all alone, there right next to them, and she was shooting,” said Christine Mashia, who watched from the window of her house.
When the shooting stopped, a robber was dead, another shot in all four limbs and two had been arrested. Two others jumped over walls and got away.
“They had to make a decision,” said a policeman on the scene, “they could go or surrender.”
The robbers opted to go, fleeing through the back door of that flat on South Africa Boulevard, in Alexandra’s East Bank, to face the constable.
The shootout was at such close range, the spent shells from the R5 lay intermingled with those of the suspects. The dead man’s body lay about 10m away, alongside the wall of a house. Police said he was 30 years old.
Not long before the shootout, the six armed men had robbed a business on 11th Road in Kew.
“They tied up the employees and robbed them of jewellery, their wallets and cellphones,” said police spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Katlego Mogale.
No one was injured.
Mogale said the police had received information and a high-speed had chase ensued, leading from Kew, through Alexandra and on to the East Bank.
The chase ended when the robbers entered the first-floor flat. First on the scene were two Flying Squad patrol vehicles, carrying the constable and three of her colleagues.
They called on the men inside to surrender but they refused.
At a house to the rear of the flat, Mashia was bathing two-year-old Tshepang when she heard shouting.
“I have never heard gunshots before, and this was loud,” she said.
There were policemen in her yard and, from the window, she saw the constable just metres from the robbers.
Mashia said she had grabbed Tshepang and crawled underneath her bed.
“I placed my hands on my baby’s head. I suddenly realised I was not safe,” she said.
When police entered the flat, they found the items stolen from the business in Kew.
Residents identified one of the the two men arrested as being the owner of the flat. They said he had lived there since at least 2007. They didn’t know what he did for a living.
Police also recovered two 9mm pistols at the scene. - The Star