A Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) officer is lucky to be alive after he was shot at by an armed gang during a robbery in progress in the Verulam CBD on Sunday night.
The injured officer who is currently in hospital was dispatched to a robbery in progress at a supermarket on Todd Street in Verulam when the armed robbers ambushed him and opened fire.
RUSA boss, Prem Balram, said, “At 7:58pm, members of Reaction Unit South Africa were dispatched to a robbery in progress at a supermarket. Upon arrival, the first reaction officer parked his response vehicle across the road. As he exited the vehicle, he noticed three gunmen in the store.
“The RUSA member was ambushed by a fourth suspect who was outside the business premises. The suspect fired a volley of shots, one of which struck the reaction officer. A bullet which was fired from a high calibre weapon possibly a rifle also struck his response vehicle. A large amount of cash was taken by the robbers. A stray bullet struck a stack of energy drinks stored at a salon next to the supermarket.
“Backup RUSA officers returned fire at the robbers who fled the scene on foot and in a red VW Polo. Police who were in the vicinity noticed one of the suspects fleeing down Wick Street in the vicinity of ABSA Bank. The suspect opened fire on police who also returned fire.
“The injured reaction officer was treated for his injuries and was transported hastily to hospital by ambulance.
An extensive search was undertaken by reaction officers and members of the South African Police. The public is urged not to be on high alert for these ruthless and dangerous suspects,” said Balram.
“RUSA officers face danger and threats on a daily basis. Scores of RUSA members have been attacked and some killed in the line of duty and whilst off-duty. There were several attacks on officers for this year alone.
“With ruthless and merciless criminals out there, RUSA members have been instructed to defend their lives at all costs when threatened with death as they are armed at all times.
Whilst on duty, RUSA members are equipped with compulsory security gear for their protection. They are aware of the risks that are an occupational hazard and are often targeted for exposing crime and criminals in various sectors.
“However, they are dedicated to protecting the community and tragically, many RUSA members have lost their lives for the safety of others. We wish the shot member a speedy recovery as the manhunt for the armed gang continues,” Balram added.