A member of Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) escaped injury following a gun battle with heavily armed suspects in Phoenix on Sunday evening.

A RUSA member was on bike patrol when the gunfire exploded

RUSA boss, Prem Balram, said, “The RUSA officer was on bike patrol at a business premises in the Gem City Complex at approximately 18:50 when he was informed of an armed robbery in progress at a Tattersalls. The reaction officer immediately called for back-up units and approached the entrance of the business. The suspects opened rapid fire on him. One suspect positioned himself in the parking lot and began firing rapidly with a high calibre rifle resulting in shoppers fleeing for cover.

Police and security stood down at the scene of the business robbery

The reaction officer returned fire when the gunmen jumped into a black, new model Mercedes Benz and sped off. Back-up RUSA officers converged on the scene and conducted an extensive search for the robbers, however, they still remain at large. Several spent 9mm and rifle cartridges were recovered at the scene. The Reaction Officer was not injured in the shooting.”

Balram added, “It is believed that the suspects belong to a gang that that have targeted several tattersalls in Kwazulu-Natal in recent months.”

KZN VIP Security spokesman, Romano Naidoo, said, “KZN VIP, police and other security personnel dashed to the scene where gunfire broke out. It is alleged that there were about nine suspects present and they were brandishing high calibre weapons including an AK47. Police and security stood down and secured the scene whilst police investigations continued.”

Phoenix SAPS communications officer, Cpt L Naidoo, said, “The complainant who is the manager at the tattersalls alleged that he was in his office at about 18:45 and he was counting money when staff members entered with two unknown men wielding firearms.

The suspects took an amount of R50, 000 from the table. They demanded the safe keys and took an amount of R43, 000. A further amount of R32 000 for pay outs was also taken. The suspects had hats on. The suspects went out and came across the security guard from RUSA who came to guard the same premises as they were closing. There was an exchange of fire between the guard and the suspects. Two vehicles that were at the parking were damaged. No injuries were reported.”

Phoenix SAPS are investigating a business robbery case.