It was a hectic chase through a storm water drain for Amanzimtoti crimefighters after a gunman tried to make a quick escape, but he was swiftly arrested following a shooting in the Toti CBD, on Friday.

Blue Security Amazimtoti community ambassador Eugene Engelbrecht said a SAPS crime prevention officer and an armed response officer from another local security firm chased the suspect through a storm water drain and onto the beach where he was arrested after he allegedly shot a man who had witnessed an armed robbery. The suspect had earlier held up a victim at Amanzimtoti station and robbed him of a cellphone and cash at around 5pm.

“Our tactical community officer Triple M responded to the scene and received information from witnesses regarding the suspect and together with some of the witnesses he started searching for the suspect who managed to evade arrest. The suspect later returned to the scene of the crime and shot one of the alleged witnesses in the chest. Paramedics attended the scene and transported the victim to hospital in a stable condition,” Engelbrecht said.

“Local residents raised the alarm and a manhunt was launched for the suspect whose spoor was tracked to the storm water pipe. A SAPS officer followed the suspect into the pipe and sent location pins on their cellphones to the rest of the team who were tracking the chase from outside the pipe. The suspect managed to eventually jump out of the pipe onto the beach where he was arrested,” he said.

Engelbrecht said the suspect jumped out of the pipe near where he had been waiting with members of the SAPS who took the suspect into custody. “The suspect managed to throw the firearm away as he fled. A team of residents who have metal detectors were alerted to the scene to assist with the search for the firearm. The team eventually found the firearm where the suspect had allegedly discarded it on the beach,” he said.

Engelbrecht commended the residents, SAPS officers and the other role players for their determined team work that led to the arrest of the suspect and recovery of the weapon.

Amanzimtoti SAPS communications officer, Cpt Van der Spuy said, “The victim was shot in the chest by the suspect at Amanzimtoti taxi rank. The suspect fled the scene on foot. SAPS together with the assistance of the members of Beach Road Neighbourhood Watch, Blue Security and ET Rapid Response Unit, the suspect was apprehended on the beach.

The firearm was recovered by SAPS with the assistance of a metal detector. A case of attempted murder is being investigated.”