Phoenix cop kills suspected hitman before dying from bullet wounds
Durban - A POLICEMAN shot dead a suspected robber before being shot dead outside a relative’s home in Phoenix on Sunday.
Warrant Officer T Pillay, based at the Phoenix police station, had dropped off a relative in Alfawood Road.
He was reversing out from the driveway in his blue Toyota Corolla when he was approached by a man who fired at him.
According to witnesses, a white Toyota Etios had stopped nearby.
It is alleged that Pillay had told the relative he dropped off that the men in the car were acting suspiciously. It is unclear if they had followed him.
Witnesses said that one of the men got out of the car and shot at Pillay while walking towards him.
Pillay apparently returned fire, hitting the man who collapsed next to his car.
The policeman and the man died at the scene. Pillay was apparently going to work when he was shot.
The suspect’s body was found partially under Pillay’s car and it was unclear if the car had rolled over him.
Residents, who said they heard about six shots go off, said the Etios sped off when the shooting stopped.
Kevin Singh said this was the first time such an incident had happened on the road and he believes it was a hit. He said two men were seen in the Etios as it drove off.
“He was a very good policeman,” Singh said of Pillay.
“He had a good working relationship with the community. Many people did not like him because of his no-nonsense stance, especially concerning drug-related activity,” he said.
Pillay’s family declined to comment.
Police officers at the scene were shocked by the incident. Several detectives and crime watch volunteers interviewed residents to gather evidence.
Phoenix Community Policing Forum chairperson Umesh Singh said Pillay was a seasoned officer and diligent in his duties.
He said it was a great loss to the community of Phoenix and to his family.
“He had an excellent character. He worked in the crime prevention and drug unit. He will be sorely missed,” Singh said.
Phoenix police are investigating a murder and an inquest.
Meanwhile, in his year-end speech, Zizamele Cebekhulu, president of the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru), appealed to communities to work with law enforcement agencies to find culprits.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to families and friends of law enforcement officers, who died in altercations within our correctional centres, and the continued police killings,” Cebekhulu said.