Wanted suspect shot in the face during shootout

The vehicle was hit with bullets 35 times during the shootout.

More than 50 rounds of ammunition were fired during a fierce gun battle between armed suspects and RUSA officers on Himalaya Drive in Everest Heights, Verulam, earlier today.

During the gun battle, one of KZN’s most wanted suspects was also shot in the face and chest.

According to a report issued by the local security company, their operations centre received a call from a Tongaat businessman who reported an armed robbery in progress at his residence.

The businessman stated that his 17-year-old daughter called him and informed him that five armed suspects had gained entry into their home. Apart from, it is believed that a 65-year-old woman and a domestic worker were also held hostage, according to the RUSA report.

All available reaction officers were immediately dispatched to the scene and upon arrival, jumped over the boundary wall and kept observation of the property.

The report, which was posted on RUSA’s facebook page read, “A female from inside the house indicated through the bedroom window that the suspects were still on the property.”

RUSA head, Prem Balram advanced to the side of the house when one suspect reportedly fired multiple shots at him. It is believed that Balram returned fire when a second suspect appeared from the corner and also fired at him.

“The suspects used their getaway vehicle, a Chev Cruze, as cover and continued firing at reaction officers who returned fire, hitting the vehicle 35 times. The shootout lasted for several minutes,” the report further indicated.

Eventually, the suspects managed to flee the property over the back wall. The RUSA team split up and pursued the suspects on foot and in response vehicles.

One suspect was found hiding on an adjacent property. He reportedly sustained two gunshot wounds (one to his face and a second to his chest).

The South African Police’s K9 Unit arrived on scene a short while later and tracked and arrested two other suspects who were hiding in a bush on Shari Drive. One of the suspects was found in possession of a remote which was used to open the driveway gates to the home that was robbed. The fourth suspect managed to evade arrest and escaped with a handbag containing R20, 000 in cash.

The suspects’ vehicle, a Chev Cruze, was abandoned on scene. A registration check confirmed that it was hijacked from Newlands in February, 2016. A plasma TV, DVR recording device, bolt cutters and a large hammer were found in the vehicle as well. The suspect who was shot was on the list of KwaZulu-Natal’s most wanted. He was sought for several home invasions and murders.

Special thanks were given to Trans Natal Flying Squad, the Verulam SAPS and the SAPS K9 Unit for their assistance in tracking down the wanted suspects.

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