2007-02-15 : Hijack survivor tells of hot-spot ordeal

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2007-02-15 : Hijack survivor tells of hot-spot ordeal

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-02-23 17:14

Hijack survivor tells of hot-spot ordeal

February 15 2007 at 04:38AM

By Barry Bateman and Sholain Govender

A woman was killed early on Thursday morning after she was shot in the head while sitting in her car at one of Pretoria's notorious hijacking hot spots. Just minutes later a man was shot and wounded at the same intersection.

Police officers patrolling the area sounded an alert after the body of the woman, whose name has not been released, was discovered slumped over the passenger seat of her Citi Golf at about 3am. SAPS officers raced to the scene, where they were joined by Tshwane Metro Police officers and private security guards.

After word got out that two suspects were seen running away, a search helicopter was summoned and a manhunt was launched in the dense bush in the area, which has been the scene of many criminal attacks recently.

On Wednesday Hendrie Venter, 27, told of his horrific experience and spoke of how the gunman shot him in the shoulder with an "expressionless face".

Venter recounted the incident from his bed at Kloof Medi-Clinic, where he is recovering.

He said he was driving home on the N1 towards Centurion. He took the Rigel Avenue off-ramp and stopped at the red traffic light.

Venter said he heard what sounded like someone slapping a hand against the car.

A man walked up to the front passenger side of the car and another appeared next to his car by the passenger door.

'It was a surreal experience'

"The man in front of me pulled out a revolver and with an expressionless face started pulling the trigger. I don't know how many shots were fired, but there are at least four holes in the car. It was a surreal experience. I just drove off.

"I didn't realise that I had been shot until I was about 500m away, when I felt the warmth of the blood running down my back," he said. "It felt like someone had punched me really hard."

Both the front side windows of Venter's Chevrolet Avio had been shot out.

Police stickers marked the bullet holes in the windscreen and review mirror and the ricochet marks on the doors.

He drove to the BP garage at the Elarduspark shopping centre to seek help.

"They (the petrol attendants) didn't believe me. But when they saw the blood they jumped into action.

"They got ice to put on the bullet hole to stop the bleeding while I waited for the ambulance to arrive," he said.

Venter said that despite the incident, he was not angry about the crime situation.

"I am disappointed at the people and their attitude (towards crime). When it happened I felt worse than helpless. There was nothing I could do.

"This guy shot at me and he had no intention of taking the car," he said.

Kloof Medi-Clinic spokesperson Ilse Esterhuizen said Venter was admitted to the hospital's emergency room at 3.35am.

She said he was treated for a gunshot wound and transferred to the high-care unit where he was awaiting the outcome of scans to determine whether the bullet should be removed.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that scores of city residents will meet to form a plan to fight crime this weekend in the wake of the two botched hijackings at the Rigel Avenue off-ramp.

Brooklyn Community Policing Forum (CPF) deputy chairman Henri Boshoff said he was shocked to hear about the incidents. Boshoff said people could get crime under control if they worked together.

The CPF has planned a meeting for Saturday, during which CPF members and security representatives would come up with a detailed security plan to combat crime in the area.

One of the key issues to be discussed is the proposed use of cameras.

Boshoff said this strategy had already started to show some success in Hatfield, where suspects had been apprehended after being identified on CCTV footage.

Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson Superintendent Alta Fourie said the Rigel Avenue intersection had been identified as a hijacking hot spot.

She said the Metro Police's environmental design department and the city engineers evaluated intersections around the city to determine where motorists were most at risk.

Fourie said intensive law enforcement at these areas meant hijackers then moved their operations to different parts of the city.

Boshoff said: "But the fact is, it is a very dangerous intersection."

He said the primary reason for this was the many escape routes available to criminals.

"They can either flee into the dense bush in the area or into residential areas full of houses, where they can get getaway cars," he said.

He warned residents not to provoke hijackers.

"Put your hands in the air," he said. "Do whatever your attacker tells you to because he is in the position of power. Don't aggravate him."

He said if residents heard gunshots near their homes they should stay indoors.

"You don't know what you might be walking into," Boshoff said. "Get down, get away from the windows and call the police."

Police spokesperson Captain Lucas Sithole confirmed the incidents.

He said the murdered woman had been identified, but her name would only be released once the next of kin had been informed.

# This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on February 15, 2007
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