Cape Town - Three police officers were gunned down and their firearms stolen in two separate incidents on Monday in what Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer called a “disaster”.
One officer was killed while off duty in Mfuleni, and two were killed while responding to a report of a stolen vehicle in Nyanga.
“This is an attack on the police officers of the Western Cape, and it is an attack on our democracy,” Lamoer said.
He visited the scene in Nyanga on Monday where the bodies of two police officers lay slumped and bloody in the front seat of their police van.
Crime scene tape marked a stark divide between members of the police force, who documented the scene of their fallen colleagues with heaviness in their steps, and the community, who filtered from homes and shops to line up curiously along the tape.
Lamoer recounted the events leading up to the deaths of the two officers.
“Yesterday morning, two members of Nyanga police responded to a report of a stolen vehicle. They found the vehicle, which had possibly been hijacked the day before. They called the owners, who positively identified the vehicle. It was a silver grey Isuzu.”
Then the official process of returning a stolen car to its rightful owner began. Between 1pm and 2pm the officers sat in their police van, waiting for a tow truck to arrive.
“A person who phoned in was in his house when he heard four or five gunshots,” Lamoer said. “He saw the officers slumped over in the police vehicle. They were both shot in the head and their firearms were taken.”
The shooters made off in the stolen Isuzu.
Lamoer said the firearm of the officer shot dead earlier in Faure Road in Mfuleni was also taken by his killer.
“Three officers in one day, shot, killed, and their firearms taken.
“This goes beyond concern; this is a disaster.”
Little is known about the officers as their next of kin were still being notified. Of the two killed in Nyanga, one was a sergeant and the other a constable. Lamoer said their ranks meant they had probably been policemen for about eight years.
Provincial community safety head Dan Plato condemned the attacks, and sent condolences to the families of the fallen officers. “These attacks must not go unpunished and I am calling on communities to assist the police in apprehending the killers.”
Lamoer said a reward of up to R100 000 was on offer for any information leading to the arrest and successful prosecution of the perpetrators.
Anyone with information should ring the Nyanga police station at 021 380 3300.
* A spate of civilian shootings across the peninsula claimed another life on Monday.
A 42-year-old man was shot and killed at about 9am in Manenberg, bringing the total number of deaths by shooting in the past four days to six.
On Saturday evening, a known 28s gang member, Andrè Josephs, 35, was gunned down in Uitsig, which sparked a weekend of violence.
Also on Saturday, a 21-year-old man was shot dead in Lentegeur, an unidentified man in Silica Walk in Hanover Park and a 25-year-old Mozambican man during a robbery at a house Brenda Street in Kuils River.
Early on Friday, Kashief Dericks was shot dead in Kewtown in Athlone by an unidentified person in a block of flats called “The Blokke”, known for gang activity. – Additional reporting by Warren Fortune