Durban - A man who shot himself in the foot after being tackled by two Merebank residents who suspected he was a robber is recovering in hospital under police guard.
A 23-year-old man has been charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
He was walking on a footbridge over a railway line when local businessman Reaven Ramiah, who lives nearby, heard a woman scream.
After hearing the scream, Ramiah, 38, of Daspur Place, peered from his balcony and saw the man on the footbridge.
Ramiah and his close friend, Becham Pillay, who was with him, walked towards the bridge, where he said the suspect had made certain remarks to a woman and two men pushing a trolley.
“The woman looked shaken and scared. I was told that the man who walked past us had pointed a gun at the woman and tried to take her handbag,” Ramiah said.
“They had a struggle for the bag but he was disturbed by the trolley pushers. The men tried to escort her over the bridge when they saw the man cross over to the other side,” he said.
He said he called the police while he and Pillay went after the suspect, who was spotted again in Satara Road heading out of Merebank.
“If he crossed over Basil February Road we would have lost him. We stopped ahead and walked towards him. I saw the butt of the gun flash when his shirt lifted,” Ramiah said. “We tackled him and pinned him to the ground.”
In the scuffle, the suspect allegedly reached for his gun.
“I placed my hand on top of his and held the gun down,” Ramiah said.
Pillay described it as a scene from a movie where two men tussled for the gun.
Ramiah said he kept the gun down but the man tried to point it at him.
While the two were wrestling for the gun, it went off and Pillay said they froze because they did not know if they had been shot.
The friends were looking for bloodstains on their clothes when the suspect uttered: “Y’all shot me.”
“It was a wild struggle and lots of heated words were exchanged. The gun was already cocked. I suppose he cocked the gun to scare the woman,” said Ramiah.
The bullet burnt a hole in the suspect’s trousers, grazed the inside of his right leg and went through his ankle.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed the shooting.
Ramiah said he “felt good ridding the community of a gun”.
“The bridge is a hot spot and if anyone has been robbed they should speak to the Wentworth SAPS,” he said.