Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter
AN armed robber was seriously injured, while his accomplice was arrested unhurt after a five-hour shootout and hide-and-seek with the police in Vainona, Harare, yesterday.
The robber, who is yet to be identified, was shot while on the roof of a house along Tarvey Road where he reportedly attempted to rob Mr Jacobs Lobbs and his wife.
Police recovered a pistol that was being used by the robber and 10 spent cartridges.
Takudzwa Wiseman (23) was arrested while his accomplice was rushed to hospital.
Witnesses thought the robber was dead, but sources said when the body was about to be placed into a metal coffin, there were signs of life.
As a result, the metal coffin could not be used.
Police spokesman Chief Inspector James Sabau confirmed the incident, saying the two had held hostage Mr Lobbs demanding cash when the police reinforcement came, prompting the robbers to hide in the ceiling.
“There was an exchange of fire between the robber and a police detail before officers from Borrowdale Police, CID Homicide and the Support Unit’s Armed Response Unit arrived.
“Upon the arrival of more armed police officers, the house was surrounded by armed officers as some got inside.
“Police instructed the robber to surrender, but he refused. He only released the couple that was being held hostage.
“He remained inside before hiding in the ceiling. Teargas canisters were thrown into the ceiling forcing the robber to remove some tiles and get on top of the house.
“Police asked him again to surrender, but he refused saying he was prepared to die resulting in him being shot.”
“It was presumed he was dead but while the body was being put in the metal box, some life was noted on the body and he was taken to hospital.
“For now, we can safely say he was injured until there is further communication from the hospital,” he said.
Witnesses praised a policeman guarding the residence of Supreme Court Judge Justice Rita Makarau who swiftly responded to the call by the residents who were being terrorised by the two robbers.
Mr Audrick Mazviwanza, a gardener, said the policeman came face-to-face with the robber and they exchanged fire for a while.
“The officer was brave to defend the unarmed public as the gunman was now firing at the defenceless residents.
“That policeman is really a man and he saved us all. Unfortunately, he ran out of bullets until more officers came,” he said.
Mr Isaac Matsvayi said the fracas started at Groombridge shops when the two men were seen carrying some expensive goods including a plasma television and other valuables.
He said the two left the goods at the shops as they went to collect more.
“On their return, they called a taxi to ferry the loot but the residents teamed up and held on the loot. We believed it was stolen property and we wanted the police to come first.
“They struggled until one of them produced a firearm and fired some warning shots before escaping.
“The two got into a kombi leaving the loot behind, but an alert conductor grabbed him forcibly. That is when he produced his pistol again and shot at the window before jumping out near Vainona Secondary School,” said Mr Matsvayi.
Chief Insp Sabau said police believed the two could be the ones who pounced on a total service station in Mt Pleasant on Wednesday night.
“We strongly believe that the duo was the same that pounced on the service station. They entered the shop at the service station and bought a packet of biscuits.
“They returned a few minutes later and one of them produced a pistol and ordered everyone to lie down. They took US$400 from the fuel attendant, US$170 from the shop cashier and US$15 from the other person who was in the shop,” said Chief Insp Sabau.