A Durban policeman is undergoing emergency surgery after he was shot twice in the chest while trying to apprehend armed robbers fleeing a crime scene, police said on Thursday.
Four armed robbers hit the Beverley Jewellery store at the Pavilion mall in Westville at about 10am and Detective Andre Mostert of the Berea police station intervened.
”He was caught in a gunfight with robbers trying to escape the crime scene,” said police spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge.
Inspector Nolan Naidoo — a close friend and colleague — said Mostert had been on his way to take statements for a case he was working on.
”When he saw the robbery in progress he tried to render assistance but the robbers turned on him,” Naidoo said.
He described Mostert as a helpful, down-to-earth person who is married with a young daughter.
Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said Mostert was shot twice in the chest and airlifted to St Augustines Hospital.
”He is presently undergoing emergency surgery,” said Botha.
Mdunge said it was unclear if the robbers had escaped with money and jewellery or if they had been shot by Mostert.
Another off-duty policewoman said that dozens of shoppers ran for cover when several shots were fired inside the mall.
”Some dropped their packets and ducked behind huge pot plants and others ran into nearby stores,” she said.
Staffers at nearby shops were seen rolling down their shutters and closing their doors.
The policewoman said the jewellery store window was riddled with bullet holes and spent cartridges littered the ground.
There were no other reported injuries.
The mall’s public relations officer, Zama Khumalo and the general manager, Preston Gaddy, said they could not comment. – Sapa