Durban - An Overport minibus taxi owner is lucky to be alive after surviving a shoot-out with four men apparently posing as policemen who attacked him and his staff outside his home.
The taxi owner returned fire, causing the men to flee. Police later found the lifeless body of a man in Mallinson Road.
The taxi owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was asleep when he heard his tenant screaming for help at 3am.
He said four men had approached one of his female employees and identified themselves as police. The men were in plain clothes but carried firearms, handcuffs and torches.
The men took the woman to her room where they searched her and took a cellphone and R500 in cash.
He said the woman, who realised the men were not police because of their strange behaviour, managed to break free and ran to another tenant’s room for help.
When the taxi owner heard her screams for help, he opened the door to his house only to be met by a flashlight shining in his face.
While he was blinded by the light he claimed that two shots went off and the bullets whizzed pass him.
He hid behind a wall and returned fire. The men fled in different directions. The traumatised taxi owner and his staff searched for the men with members of the community, but to no avail.
Three hours later police were notified there was a dead body on the pavement, face down in Mallinson Road. Police have yet to establish if he was involved in the robbery.
Sydenham police spokes-man, Captain Myhen Lazarus, said the homeowner’s firearm was seized and would be sent for ballistic testing. He said police had opened a case of robbery and an inquest.
Sydenham Community Police Forum spokesman, Satish Dhupelia, said they were concerned that there had been a recent spate of crimes in the Asherville area lately.
Dhupelia said they had requested police to increase patrols and warned the community to be alert.