Durban - The police are investigating whether three men who were arrested after a chase through uMhlanga have any links to crimes in the greater Durban area.
The trio allegedly shot at police, who retaliated, wounding one of the suspects.
The suspects were scheduled to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
During a frantic chase on Friday morning, the three suspects, who were in a charcoal-grey Hyundai i20, lost control of their vehicle and crashed into a tree near a traffic circle in Umhlanga Rocks Drive.
The car had been stolen last month in the Sydenham area, the police said.
A 9mm handgun had been recovered from the suspects, who are aged between 27 and 38, police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said.
One of the suspects was shot during the pursuit and received medical attention from paramedics as the police investigators combed the scene on Friday.
About four bullet shells were found near the scene, where a trail of blood was left on the pavement.
“At approximately 10am, in uMhlanga Rocks, the members of the Durban North SAPS saw a suspicious vehicle with three occupants,” said Zwane.
When the occupants saw the police, they opened fire on the officers.
“The suspects fled the scene and their vehicle crashed... One of the suspects sustained a gunshot wound to the arm and the others were arrested,” Zwane said.
The police initially believed the men were armed with an automatic rifle, possibly an AK-47, but they could not find any weapon other than the 9mm pistol.
Onlookers watched from nearby offices as police and ambulance services flocked to the scene. One of the suspects allegedly told the police he had been on his way to meet someone at a car dealership in uMhlanga.
The drama took place not far from where the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Community Safety and the KZN Community Policing Forum board were holding a two-day crime indaba.
Board chairman Desmond Mntambo said community engagement was important in fighting crime and rooting out criminals in society.
He called for the community to work with the police in solving crimes, saying the police would otherwise continue to have unsolved crime files on their desks.
“Let us look at the way forward, how do we eradicate crime?
“We need more active civil society participation. Much of the community still has the perception that the police are the enemy.
“That culture of running away from the police has not changed much, but we are saying the police are our sisters and brothers – let’s stop killing them and work with them.”