‘Shoot-out’ mystery

Peter Harrison, standing in the road where the incident took place.

There are clashing reports about a shoot-out in Marina da Gama, which allegedly involved a high-speed car chase through the sleepy streets, and now police are asking anyone in the know to come forward with information.

On Monday June 20, Captain Stephen Knapp of Muizenberg SAPS visited the residents whose car was damaged in the incident to get the details.

Peter and Pat Harrison told the False Bay Echo on Saturday, June 18, prior to Captain Knapp’s visit, that their car had been damaged the week before, during an early morning car chase through the suburb.

“We’ve been waiting for someone to come back to us and to follow up our report,” Ms Harrison said.

She said she had woken at 6am exactly, and then at 6.02am, she had heard gunshots in the street below. Mr Harrison had gone downstairs to investigate and when he did, three Deep Blue Security cars arrived. They discovered that his car had been smashed into, glass and debris lay in shards on the road, and the grill from the other car still lay in the road.

“The security men told me that they had seen a red car being chased up East Lake Road and had called SAPS. They said the driver of the red car had been pursued by three off-duty officers, who had noticed that the car was being driven erratically,” Mr Harrison said.

The Harrisons reported the smash, but were doubtful that their details had been taken down correctly by the police.

“I was asked for the registration of the other car. Well of course I don’t have it, I never saw it, but the scratches on my car have red paint, and the security officers said SAPS had been in pursuit of a red car in our street, and that the driver had been arrested for drunk driving, so surely they should have the details of the red car and the driver?” he said.

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He said that despite his questioning it, the form that was filled in was for a hit-and-run incident.

Captain Knapp investigated this and confirmed that the details of the incident had indeed been recorded in error by a student officer, but that he had now adjusted this, and he himself had opened a criminal case, with the details he had taken down from the Harrisons.

Captain Knapp, however, cannot confirm that any shots were fired. “In fact, I can’t even confirm that there were any SAPS officers involved in any of this, at the moment it is only hearsay from the security team, which I will follow up,” he said.

The Harrisons, for their part, are adamant that shots were fired, but they too cannot say who fired them, as they only heard the shots and did not see either of the cars allegedly tearing through the streets.

“We didn’t see them, but if it wasn’t SAPS, then it may have been the driver of the other car, in which case, one has to wonder if they were arrested, and if so, if they were charged for this. And also if their firearm was legal and licensed,” Mr Harrison said.

Why are the Harrisons so convinced there were shots fired? “Because my tyre was shot. When I went out to investigate, my car tyre was completely flat. When I took it off, I heard something in there rattle. I took it to be repaired, I was told there was a bullet in the tyre. That made sense, after having heard the shots,” Mr Harrison said.

He hauled the tyre out of the boot of his car, showed what he believes to be the entry point of the bullet.

That a red car smashed into his, is in no doubt. Scrapes of red paint are still on the car, and the aforementioned grill from the other car, with bits of red paint, was left behind.

Damage to Mr Harrison’s car starts, with the least of three quotes, at R35 000.

“If off-duty officers arrested a drunk driver driving erratically, that is great. Our question though, is why didn’t they come back to see if we were okay, and to assess the damage done to our car? Surely it would have strengthened their case, to add this damage to the charge sheet?” Ms Harrison said.

Winston Adonis, operations manager of Marina da Gama’s section with Deep Blue Security, confirmed that his security staff were on the scene at the Harrison home.

“Our guys saw two cars chasing down Cannon Island Way, and responded. When they got to the residents’ home, there were three off-duty police officers who told them they had pursued a car which was being driven erratically, presumably by a drunk driver,” Mr Adonis said.

He said the car driven by the drunk driver had crashed into the residents’ car and the officers had stopped to investigate the damage. He said these officers had called for back-up and while Deep Blue Security staff were there, on-duty SAPS officers arrived to assess the situation.

He said the drunk driver was arrested by SAPS just after this incident.

The Deep Blue Security officers did not fill out an incident report because the situation was being handled by SAPS – also because the incident did not happen inside a resident’s property.

“Our response is to break-ins and alarm activations, but this was neither and SAPS was already on hand,” Mr Adonis said.

“I know the residents reported shots being fired, but I cannot confirm or deny this, all I can say is that the residents told us they heard shots. Our staff were not on hand yet when this was said to have happened. Usually if shots are fired, even if no one is hit, the area is cordoned off and investigations are done to measure the trajectory of the bullets and so on. This did not happen, and SAPS have not recorded shots being fired at the scene,” Mr Adonis said.

He said the incident has worried residents who heard about the car chase and feared that it was gang related. “There is no evidence of that at all, SAPS confirmed to us that their officers had pursued a drunk driver, so we can lay those unfounded fears to rest,” Mr Adonis said.

Captain Knapp has asked that anyone with information contact Lieutenant Colonel Nonkula on 021 787 9000 or 082 469 2694.