Shop owner, robber killed

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

A robber and a shop owner died after a shootout when two men held up a jewellery store in the Durban city centre yesterday.

Two men stormed into Pyramid Jewellers on busy Victoria Street and held staff at gunpoint, demanding jewellery and cash.

Shop owner Pat Pather, 64, was shot and critically wounded. One of the robbers was also killed in the ensuing gunfight.

According to ER24 spokesman Derrick Banks a shootout started in the shop between Pather and the two men.

"When paramedics arrived at the scene, Pather was lying on the floor. He had been shot three times. He was rushed to Entabeni Hospital in a critical condition.

"Staff tried in vain to save his life," Banks said.

Police spokesman Michael Reed said two suspects entered the jewellery store shortly after opening in the morning.

"There was an exchange of gunfire between the suspects and the owner when the men tried to rob him. The owner and a suspect were shot during the ensuing gunfight.

"Members of the Flying Squad arrested a second suspect in the vicinity of the Workshop [shopping complex] while he was trying to run away," Reed said.

In a separate incident, an elderly Durban couple and a friend were held up minutes after surviving a car crash. They were held up by thieves while they were waiting for paramedics to help them.

The three were travelling along Hans Dettman Highway towards Pinetown when the driver lost control and their car went down an embankment.

Banks said two of the occupants were flung out of the car and managed to crawl back to their vehicle.

"While waiting for paramedics to arrive, the trio was confronted by two unknown men who demanded their belongings.

"A passing tow truck driver stopped and managed to chase off the would-be thieves," he said.