Questions arise after Van Wijk Street shooting

The scene in Van Wijk Street.

MBOMBELA – An alleged knife-wielding robber met more than his match on Tuesday when he was shot in the leg in a residential street and apprehended.

Jacques Meiring of Divergent Ops, who responded first and assisted in the arrest, said his response officer, Philip Vilakazi, fired two shots in self-defence. Yet, two independent sources who attended the scene and have decades of crime-fighting experience told Lowvelder the bullet appeared to have hit the suspect from behind, and exited his leg to the front.

The scene in Van Wijk Street.

The suspect was armed with a knife. On Tuesday morning he allegedly burgled a number of homes in Van Wijk Street.

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“He made his way from the one property to the next, grabbing items such as handbags and technological devices as he went,” said a security official. “He jumped over walls and cut fences to make his way down a line of properties.”

The official confirmed that the suspect attacked one resident with a spade. The man, a veterinarian, requested not to be identified, but told Lowvelder that the wound he sustained was not serious and in the process of healing.

The incident took place close to the intersection of Britz and Van Wijk streets.

The hunt started at around 09:00, when Hi-Tech Security received a distress signal from one of its clients in Van Wijk Street. It was reported that a man had burgled their home.

“The same man was spotted a few houses down the street, where a laptop was stolen,” said an official who requested anonymity.

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Divergent Ops was called to another scene close by where a burglar had wrecked havoc. A large group of Divergent Ops and Hi-Tech officials followed the suspect to Mirvis Street, where he came face to face with Meiring.

“He threatened to stab me with a knife,” said Meiring.

They chased the man and found themselves in Van Wijk Street again, where the suspect was outnumbered on the corner of Britz Street.

The suspect dropped his backpack next to the road.


Vilakazi fired two shots. One bullet took down the suspect, bringing an almost three-hour-long manhunt to a close.

Meiring said that the suspect tried to stab Vilakazi with a knife. “He reacted with a warning shot and then retaliated in self-defence,” he stated.

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Meiring denied that the suspect had been shot from behind. The police’s acting spokesman, Lt Col Erhard Stroh said Vilakazi would not be charged in connection with the shooting as police investigations concluded with the finding that he acted in self-defence.

“The suspect will be discharged from hospital today and taken to court to be charged,” he added.

The injured man’s pants were stained with blood.

Stroh added that the suspect has not laid a complaint about the shooting with the police.

“If he does we will investigate the matter further.”

The suspect cannot be named until he has appeared in court. Meiring said charges against the accused included assault, housebreaking and theft.


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