IN A high-strung gun battle characteristic of a Hollywood movie, a lone police officer yesterday shot dead two bandits in a heist at a shopping mall in Lusaka.
Two other bandits, however, got away with K337,000 snatched from a cash-in-transit security vehicle after a heavy exchange of gun fire at Twin Palm Shopping Mall. The money was being transported from Shoprite supermarket.
The fire fight left the policeman and two shop attendants of Subway, Lwandi Kaluba and Nicholas Katingwe, with gun wounds.
Lusaka Province commissioner of police Charity Katanga said in an interview yesterday that the incident happened around 13:30 hours.
“We had a shooting incident today [yesterday] at Twin Palm Mall in which two criminals were shot dead while two others managed to get away in a Toyota Spacio,” she said.
She named the police officer as Donald Maluli, who was accompanied by Warren Mambo, a driver of Armaguard Security Company.
Ms Katanga said Mr Maluli and Mr Mambo were attacked as they were leaving Shoprite with two boxes containing K337,000 cash.
“As they were approaching their vehicle, a Toyota Hilux twin cab registration number ALT 5794, they spotted two men approaching and one was armed with an AK47 rifle while the other suspect was carrying an iron bar,” she said.
Ms Katanga said the suspect who was armed with an iron bar ordered Mr Maluli and Mr Mambo to drop the boxes containing the cash and threatened to hit them with the iron bar.
She said Mr Maluli resisted and the suspect hit him with a stone while the other suspect pointed a gun at him and Mr Mambo.
Ms Katanga said Mr Mambo dropped the boxes of money and one of the suspects tried to grab them.
She said Mr Maluli then hit the suspect in the head and his accomplice fired at Mr Maluli.
“Mr Maluli managed to shoot the second criminal in the leg but he managed to crawl to the vehicle, where the other two criminals were,” Ms Katanga said.
She said the other two criminals in the car managed to grab the boxes of money, and Mr Maluli, who had taken cover, reached for the dead suspect’s gun after his weapon ran out of ammunition.
Ms Katanga said Mr Maluli continued shooting until the injured criminal was killed and his accomplices fled the scene and left him behind.
Ms Katanga said the criminals sped off and in the process shot Ms Kaluba in the stomach and Mr Katingwe on the arm.
“The bodies of the two criminals are in the University Teaching Hospital mortuary and Ms Kaluba is also nursing injuries at the same hospital but Mr Katingwe is admitted to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital,” she said.
She said police have instituted investigations into the aggravated robbery
“The officer was very brave and he did a tremendous job, otherwise all the criminals would have run away,” Ms Katanga said.