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Bystander shot by armed robbers in Athlone: Police

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A bystander seriously injured during an armed robbery at an Athlone store on Monday night was shot four times by her assailants, police sources say.

The woman, whose name is known to News24, is currently in hospital. Sources confirmed she was in a stable condition and that she had been shot twice in the arm and twice in her legs.

It is understood that the woman was behind the wheel of a car parked outside the shop when the gang of robbers hit Primrose Markette at about 21:00.

For the police it was a double whammy, as they were following the suspects for a completely different reason – they were tracking a suspected stolen vehicle.

‘A shoot-out straight out of the movies’

The group entered the store and escaped with about R20 000 in cash, owner Siraj Parker told News24.

When they fled the store, they were met by the convoy of officers.

“A shoot-out straight out of the movies followed,” a witness said. “The robbers fired first, and the police hit back. It was madness.”

The woman, who was waiting for her passenger to return from the shop, is believed to have been shot when she was forced out of the car by the robbers.

“She was rushed to hospital in her own car,” a police source confirmed.

Residents say they initially thought the shots being fired were coming from gang-ridden Manenberg, situated about one kilometre away.

‘It sounded like Guy Fawkes’

“We are used to hearing the gunshots, but I told my husband it sounded much too close to be the gangsters wreaking havoc again,” an elderly local said.

“It sounded like Guy Fawkes, or those violent TV games my grandchildren play,” she insisted.

“All you heard was ‘bang, bang, bang, bang, bang! I was terrified.”

Provincial police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk on Tuesday morning confirmed that a 43-year-old warrant officer was also wounded in the shootout. He, too, was in a serious, but stable condition.

Two guns and two hijacked vehicles were recovered.

“Three or even more suspects managed to flee the scene and are yet to be arrested,” he said.

‘These people are brazen’

Petrol attendants who work at the garage next to the store said they were in constant fear at their workplace, as a number of robberies have taken place at the corner of Ruimte and Orion roads.

“Our nightshift team said it was a very scary experience,” one man told News24.

“I am so glad I wasn’t here at the time. I am scared to be here right now.

“I don’t know what I would have done in the situation. These people are brazen.” News24

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