Bullets fly at supermarket

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

A robber was killed and eight others arrested during a fierce gun battle with police in Ekurhuleni yesterday.

The robbers had broken into the Ebony Park Spar supermarketds, near Thembisa, in Kempton Park, but when police arrived, they barricaded themselves inside and opened fire.

The shootout occurred in the early hours of the morning.

Lesiba Manamela, spokesperson for Ivory Park police, said the gang gained entry into the supermarket through the roof at about 10pm on Sunday and forced open a safe.

"They were busy opening the second safe when police, acting on a tip-off, arrived, but were met by gunfire from the thugs."

The police returned fire, killing one of the robbers and critically wounded another, Manamela said.

"They also arrested seven other gang members and confiscated two unlicensed firearms."

An undisclosed amount of cash was also recovered from the suspects, he said.

The gang's ages range between 28 and 38 years.

The wounded robber was admitted to Thembisa Hospital under police guard.

The gang members have been linked to a number of robberies in Gauteng, including a recent truck hijacking in Kempton Park.

Manamela said one of the two confiscated firearms was reportedly taken in a robbery in Bedfordview in 2007.

Ivory Park station commissioner Director Leshabane commended the police on their intervention and also praised members of the community for the tip-off, saying had it not been for their cooperation, "the police would not have made this breakthrough".

The suspects are due to appear in the Thembisa magistrate's court this week.