trigger-happy cops at it again

LUCKY ESCAPE: Two of the bullet holes in Vedzisane Tshukudu's Golf 5. Others are in the front left passenger door, the left front wheel and the driver's seat. Pic: Peggy Nkomo.  28/10/2009. © Sowetan.
LUCKY ESCAPE: Two of the bullet holes in Vedzisane Tshukudu's Golf 5. Others are in the front left passenger door, the left front wheel and the driver's seat. Pic: Peggy Nkomo. 28/10/2009. © Sowetan.

PRETORIA police have again been accused of being trigger-happy after they chased and opened fire on occupants of a car after they mistook them for robbers.

PRETORIA police have again been accused of being trigger-happy after they chased and opened fire on occupants of a car after they mistook them for robbers.

The officers were responding to a robbery in Wonderboom, outside Pretoria when they came across their victims.

They sprayed the car with a hail of bullets, wounding the driver in the shoulder and leaving the VW Golf riddled with bullet holes.

The victims described the police action as shocking.

"It was was thoughtless. They really traumatised us," Vedzisane Tshukudu said.

This comes a fortnight after other police shot and killed Olga Kekana, 29, of Stinkwater near Pretoria, when they fired at the car in which she was travelling.

The police suspected that Kekana and her companions were hijackers after a car similar to the one she was travelling in was reported hijacked.

In the latest incident last Friday, Tshukudu, 42, Kagiso Gaanakgomo, 37, and Phineas Lenkopa, 30, said they were lucky to be alive after police fired several shots at them.

Describing their ordeal yesterday, Tshukudu said the incident started when their car was bumped from behind by a minibus taxi.

"Our car stalled and just as we were trying to get it started a policeman emerged from nowhere and started shooting at us. From the way he was shooting it was clear he was determined to finish us off. More police came and started assaulting us," Tshukudu said.

Lenkopa said: "The police just shot at us without any warning. They searched our car for guns but all they found was a couple of beers."

When the police realised their mistake they had the three locked up on trumped-up charges over the weekend.

Documents in our possession show the men were detained at Wonderboompoort police station and incredibly charged with reckless and negligent driving.

"How do you charge passengers with reckless driving?" asked their lawyer, Tlou Selolo, who also confirmed that a case of attempted murder had been opened against the officers involved.

The Pretoria magistrate's court on Monday withdrew the charges against the men.

Selolo said: "We are suing for close to a million for unlawful arrest and general damages."

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