A shocking and bizarre shooting incident played itself out in the heart of Tzaneen on Wednesday evening this week. According to Canine Security it was at around 18:40 on the evening of the 17th of June, when they received a panic from the Sasol fueling station on the R71 highway opposite Tzaneen Lifestyle centre. They have a guard stationed at the entrance to the convenience store.
The guard reports that a man came running into the convenience store followed by a second man, armed with a small calibre firearm. The first man was visibly scared and ran into the convenience shop and tried to hide behind the counter. The armed man also ran into the store and fired a shot point blank at the first man, wounding him in his arm before fleeing the scene.
Canine Security’s guard gave chase and the store clerk pushed the panic button. The suspect fled the premises and ran across the R71 road towards Lifestyle Centre. The guard radioed for backup and an armed response vehicle was immediately dispatched.
According to operations manager Peter du Toit, the armed response arrived within minutes and joined the pursuit. The suspect was spotted exiting the bushes behind the Tzaneen Lifestyle Centre parking lot heading up towards the parking lot at Ivory Tusk Lodge and Mediclinic. Upon spotting the suspect, one of the armed response officers set after him on foot and the suspect began firing shots at him. The response officer returned fire and the suspect continued running towards the parking lot.
Once in the parking lot the response officer was joined by his partner. They heard screams for help from a motorist who was in his vehicle in the parking lot. The suspect had attempted to hijack his vehicle. One of the response guards tackled the suspect and wrestled him to the ground where his partner disarmed him. During the scuffle backup in the form of Letaba Security and Northern Security arrived on scene. The suspect was arrested, and the firearm handed into the Tzaneen police.
The firearm was unlicensed. Both the victim and the suspect were 36-years of age. The suspect has been taken into custody and the victim was removed from the scene by Deon van Tonder of Tzaneen Emergency Services 911. At the time of going to print yesterday afternoon, the motive for the shooting was not yet determined.