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25 January 2012 at 09:37 - Posted by Anonymous

Terror as crime gang strikes


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Jaco le Cock, who heard his neighbour's screams after her husband had been shot by armed men. Photo: Thobile Mathonsi

Police are concerned that an armed gang which got away after shooting two men during a suburban crime spree on Monday, is linked to other crimes in the eastern suburbs.

Spokeswoman Warrant Officer Annabelle Middleton said that hours after the attacks in Menlo Park, there had been a house robbery nearby.

Middleton said two charges of attempted murder, one of hijacking, one of attempted hijacking and two cases of house robbery were being investigated.

Middleton also confirmed police were investigating a possible link between the men and other crimes in the area.

Johan Geyer was in the kitchen of his home in 21st Street on Monday night, preparing supper. Also home were his wife and son in his twenties.

Outside, five armed men were hiding in the bushes, waiting to pounce.

Three men stormed the house, attacking Geyer, 57. When his son came to his aid, he was pinned to the floor by an armed man.

Geyer wrestled two of the men to the floor, pulling the gunman away from his son.

Then one of the men pushed the barrel of his pistol hard against Geyer’s back, before pulling the trigger.

The bullet tore through the upper section of Geyer’s spine, possibly leaving him paralysed, and extensively damaged his liver and lungs.

The son ran to get his mother, who had been hiding in a bedroom, and they raised the alarm.

A neighbour, Jaco le Cock, rushed out of his home when he heard Geyer’s wife screaming for help.

“When I heard those screams I knew something was wrong. You never forget screams like those.”

Le Cock saw the gunmen beating a retreat so he ran back inside to get his cellphone and headed for his car, a Pajero.

But, he says, the gunmen ran towards him, shouting at him to get away from his vehicle. “When I saw that gun I thought they were going to kill me. I thought this was it.

“I just turned my back and waited for the shot.”

The robbers got into Le Cock’s Pajero and sped off. Le Cock used his phone to call his vehicle tracking company before calling his brother-in-law, a doctor, to help stabilise Geyer while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Within minutes police and private security guards were swarming through the suburb, blocking roads in their hunt for the suspects.

They spotted the men racing along Atterbury Road in the Pajero. Police gave chase, returning fire as the suspects shot at them.

The men abandoned the car and fled on foot along 7th Street, where Paul de Beer, an architect based at the University of Pretoria, had just arrived home.

The robbers forced De Beer, 60, into his garage. They overpowered him, shooting him in the arm as his hysterical wife, Elke, listened to him trying to fend them off.

The robbers got into De Beer’s car, but abandoned it outside the house, fleeing further on foot.

They scaled walls and ran through gardens and managed to evade arrest.

Elke de Beer said hearing her husband fighting for his life was terrifying and had left her feeling numb.

“When I heard him scream and then the gunshots I knew he was in terrible trouble,” she said.

De Beer said her husband had surgery on Tuesday to repair extensive damage to a bone in his arm shattered by the bullet.

Geyer is in a critical but stable condition in Pretoria East Hospital.

For his family the shooting has left them shattered. A family spokesman, who asked not to be named, described the act of violence as savagery.

“When the gunmen forced his (Geyer’s) son to the floor he knew he had to do something… he knew he had to act before they killed his son,” the spokesman said.

“The man ran at him, pushed his gun into his spine and shot him at point-blank range.”

In a later crime, three men overpowered the gardener at another home nearby. They forced him to open a garden gate before making him take them to the home owners, whom they tied up.

“The men escaped with jewellery and cash,” Middleton said.

A visibly angry Le Cock said the area was besieged by crime.

“Every day houses are being broken into, families attacked, motorists hijacked and cars stolen.

“We are sick and tired of this. It just never ends.”

The police have appealed to residents to be vigilant and to alert police of anything suspicious. - Pretoria News

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