K9 hero killed

Police nabbed two men and shot one dead, after a dramatic car chase and shootout with suspected stock thieves on the N3 on Friday morning.

One of the men arrested is recovering in hospital from gunshot wounds after police intercepted a Toyota Quantum carrying three slaughtered cows.

A police dog named Brynmor, which was released to chase after the fleeing men, was killed after it ran into the path of a truck on the highway during the incident.

A police source told Weekend Witness that the authorities had received word that a vehicle with stolen property was entering Pietermaritzburg on Friday morning.

Police, including members of the Pietermaritzburg Hawks, K9 dog unit and collision unit, then set up a roadblock at the northbound Church Street off-ramp.

“When we saw the vehicle [approaching the city], we activated the sirens and blue lights and followed it, but it refused to stop. It then turned onto the New England off-ramp and slowed down. An officer approached the vehicle with his firearm, but the vehicle then sped off. The officer fired two shots at the wheel.”

The source said the vehicle drove onto the oncoming lane on New England Road and turned back onto the N3, driving counterflow to the traffic.

“They then crossed over [the median] to the right side and fired shots at the police who fired back. One man was shot dead. The vehicle stopped near Market Road, and the other two ran into nearby fields.”

He said officers gave chase.

The vehicle was taken to a forensic laboratory, and one unlicensed firearm and three live rounds were found, sources said.

Dozens of officers combed the scene after the incident. Bullet casings littered the road, and only one lane on the N3 was open during the morning rush hour, causing traffic to back up as far as New England Road.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said a case of attempted murder and an inquest docket was opened, and the case transferred to the organised crime unit.