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PORT ELIZABETH - Eastern Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Liziwe Ntshinga has applauded officers attached to the Mount Road policing cluster crime combating task team in Port Elizabeth for pursuing a suspect and ensuring his arrest, even after one officer was knocked down by a minibus taxi during the chase.

Officers were engaged in stop-and-search operations in Louw Street in Gelvandale at about 4.10pm on Saturday afternoon, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement posted on the SAPS Facebook page.

While officers were searching a person suspected of being in possession of drugs, other officers in a police vehicle parked behind their colleagues noticed a person running with a firearm in his hand.

"Members chased after the suspect on foot and in a vehicle. The fleeing suspect was seen tossing a firearm over a fence. The member on foot was run over by a taxi; however in his persistence he got up and continued pursuing the suspect. The suspect then turned around and fired at them with a second firearm. The members observed the suspect handing over the firearm to two other males who joined him while running.

"The 18-year-old youth was arrested. Back-up vehicles continued chasing the other two suspects, who split up. One person was found at a house in Nyala Street but no firearm was found in his possession. A 7.65 pistol was found in a yard in Louw Street in Gelvandale."

The driver of the minibus taxi was also apprehended and taken to the police station. A case of reckless and/or negligent driving was opened against him. The injured police warrant officer sustained injuries to his face, fingers, and a foot. After effecting the arrest, he was taken to hospital for treatment. 

The 18-year-old suspect was detained on charges of illegal possession of a firearm and attempted murder.

"The attacks on police members can never be justified and we will do everything in our power to ensure that perpetrators are arrested and brought to book," Ntshinga said.

"The injured police officer is commended for his bravery and determination in ensuring the arrest of the suspect and we wish him a speedy recovery. Our police members are mandated to protect the people in the Northern Areas [of Port Elizabeth] and such attacks will not deter us from fulfilling this task," Ntshinga said.

African News Agency (ANA)