A violent armored robbery occurred on a sunny Friday afternoon. I offered to help a friend sell his Jet Skis from his house as he was in hospital. A gent contacted me as he was interested in the Jet Skis from Potchefstroom and we arranged for him to come through and finalize the deal. They arrived on a Friday at 15.30pm; they could not perform an EFT as they had no access to a bank and they had just broken the screen on their phone and could not do banking. They decided to draw money from a local bank.
They drew R20.000 for the Jet Skis; I was waiting at the bottom of the driveway with a clear view of the road and gate so I could open for them on their arrival. They then arrived at the gate and I open it, as they drove into the driveway another car pulled into the gateway and blocked the sensor of the gate so I could not close the gate. Four men exited the car and then I knew this is trouble. The buyers did not even see the other car behind and were happily waving hello to me as they passed to drive to the bottom of the garden, unbeknown to them they had armed men running behind their car.
The four men with firearms started to run at me with no question asked, no shouting, no warning, I now knew that this was no joke and we are going to get badly hurt here. They had to cover 12m to get to my point; they were running full steam with firearms in hand. As this was a hot Friday and we were headed off to the local to have a beer and burger, I kept my firearm in a (Gun bag) Moon bag with a quick zip for immediate action and not on my hip as always. I ran to my bakkie to get my Glock 22 in my moon bag, and shouted to my partner, run!
I got the firearm in time, as I turned around they were approximately 4m away from my position and have already started firing rounds in my direction.
I started firing at the closest man to me while moving backwards… I am hoping that my firearm will work as it has always done on the range, and that the .40 S&W Winchester Ranger 165gr T-Series expanding bullets actually work. No time to focus on the front sights, just firing, he was firing at me and I was returning fire into his body, not sure if it was hitting him.
They seem to be working as he is falling to the ground, I see blood fly off him in long sprays, as I was moving back in a natural form of escape, fortunately I fell over onto my back caused by my flip flops got caught on uneven ground, he was still firing at me and he missed every shot. My wife is watching this from the window of the bakkie, when I fell she thought I was shot, only one can imagine watching fall thinking that they are dead.
While I fell I thought I was shot as this is not my normal firing position, I never felt the burn or sensation of being shot as described by many other that have been in this position. When he fell to the ground he was still pointing the firing at me so I fired another two rounds into his side as my life was still in danger, and that was the closing shots. I watched his eyes close and die from these gunshot wounds and trauma caused. I never knew that that I was actually my target; I thought I missed all my shots; I fired eight rounds in total, was it too many, was this excessive force, my life was in danger so I fired until he fell.
He died very quickly, which was good as I had one less threat to worry about, I got up and started to run after the car with the three suspects that run away as soon as I started to fire. I used cover around the driveway and bolted on the tar road, I felt my feet burn and the skin tear. They were gone as quick as they came, while running I shouted out to people to call the Police. While I decided to run back to the house and this is chase is now a lost cause, I did a self body check to see if there is any blood on me, none, I carried out a magazine check and chamber check to see my ammunition balance. When running back to the house I had bad thoughts of leaving my partner behind unprotected and alone with these two strangers that came to buy the Jet Skis.
For a second I thought that they had brought these four guys in to take over the whole house, tie us up and do whatever they wish. I pointed they firearm at them while running towards the scene and they shouted don’t shoot don’t shoot. They were already on their knees, so I largely assumed that they were not in on this violent robbery and saw that they had no firearms to attack me. They had no idea what was going on, they in fact thought that I was robbing them of the cash. They thought that when I let them in I let my gang in to block the driveway and rob everyone present. They shouted don’t kill us, don’t kill us.
I did a check on the man lying down, he is still down and we all are ok, I again made sure my wife is ok.
They buyers came to me and said here is the money for the Jet skis, we are never coming back to Jhb again, they could not believe that someone had just saved their lives from the most aggressive criminals in Jhb, they have been sought after by the police for many years and have murdered many police members and civilians of cash and firearms. They are known for bank robberies and very violent crimes; they had not time to ask questions and were willing to kill anything that moved.
They took nothing from us and we are happy to be alive. The Police arrived and they were very professional and thorough. All the very top Police were there to handle the situation and were happy as they have been looking for this gang for a long time. It seems like the guy was the ring leader and he was firing a fully loaded Z88 pistol which was found under his chest, the Police were content that there is one less man in the area killing ruthlessly with no questions asked. We all know and believe that we all would have been killed for cash, so it was him or me and us.
The Police took statements from all parties there were that day; they then took my firearm for ballistic testing and waited to get it back.
The whole incident took a matter of seconds really and it shows that not only a good working firearm with carry ammunition (expanding bullets), a good sense of how the firearm works and what loaded condition its in, but the awareness and the ability to react to a life threatening situation saved lives that day.
It was scary to hear later on that week from the Police that the gang actually consisted of eight members and that the other four were waiting around the corner to take control of the house and then they could have taken the whole house and done whatever they wanted with us.
Did we need post therapy of any sort, yes we did. This is traumatic and will play on your mind for a long time. Seek help and guidance; speak about your incident with close friends and family
There are some lessons to learn, don’t make transactions with cash, EFT is the only way and get proof that the transaction took place. Always carry your firearm on your hip, if not then practice drawing the firearm from that bag. Training is important, practice as much as you can.
Always be aware of your surroundings and when you draw cash from a bank, look who is tailing you, if so change your route and go to the nearest Police station.
Reaction is the key to survival; 95% of people, who survived an attack, did so by doing something. Don’t just stand there, draw and fire, move, hide, take cover, shout and scream, reload, first aid…
People who never survived an attack or was injured, it’s because they
“Could not believe that this is happening to me”
“I thought this was a joke”
“I asked the criminal if I could help him, can I help you”
“What are you doing here?”
Understand that these kinds of scenarios can happen everywhere, anywhere, anytime… You must be prepared to handle these situations, and most of it is from the mental state.
You must survive the attack, then you must survive the Legal system, then you must survive what’s left over and that’s what’s in your head. Violence is a terrible thing, but sometimes its’ necessary to beat the evil in our world.