It is more in keeping with slapstick comedy than a real event, but East London police officers ended up shooting each other when two different teams arrived at the same scene on Thursday afternoon.
Luckily, two officers only suffered flesh wounds during the Buffalo Street shoot-out. The result could have been much worse.
An internal police crime report leaked to DispatchLIVE, says a constable was driving down Buffalo Street when he saw four armed men getting out of a Volkswagen bakkie.
The men went into a shop called Bismalah and closed the shop’s roller doors.
Because the constable suspected a business robbery was in progress, he phoned 10111 to report the incident and the East London K9 unit and East London crime prevention unit members responded to the call.
Upon arrival at the scene, officers from these units instructed the people inside the shop to open the door.
But when the door was eventually opened, all hell broke loose and gunfire was exchanged.
According to the report, once the shooting stopped it became clear that the men inside the shop were police officers attached to East London crime intelligence gathering (CIG) and provincial organised crime units, who were following up on their own information.
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci confirmed the incident and said it was being investigated.
“The circumstances surrounding the shooting incident at the East London shop yesterday at about 4pm where two SAPS members were injured form part of the investigation,” Soci said.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Ndileka Cola also confirmed that “a notification [about the incident] has been sent by the SAPS to Ipid”.
The two wounded officers were taken to St Dominic’s Hospital for treatment.
According to the crime report, a 9mm P pistol Z88 fired one round, a 9mm P pistol also fired one round, and an R5 rifle fired two rounds.
All firearms have been taken for ballistic testing, and gun residue tests have been conducted on all members.