Two staff members at Jaco’s Engineering were shot in the crossfire during an armed robbery this morning, Vryheid Herald reports.
Five armed men entered the premises at 8am when Jaco’s opened, demanding the safe keys.
A manager, who was held at gunpoint, realised that the gun being pointed at him was a toy gun and the robber appeared nervous. This gave him the courage to push his attacker away and pull out his own firearm and fire a warning shot.
However, the other robbers were carrying real firearms and fired a number of retaliation shots.
The robbers then fled in a red Mazda Sting without taking anything.
One of the injured staff members was fortunate that the bullet merely grazed his arm.
Sadly, the other staff member was seriously injured when a bullet went through his abdomen damaging his liver and spleen. He is on his way to a hospital in Newcastle for medical treatment.
According to the workshop’s Mr Faizel Sheik, the business has been operational for more than 20 years, but nothing of this nature has ever occurred.
He warned residents not to adopt the belief that Vryheid is still a safe town and gave out this warning:
“Do not ever let your guard down. Vryheid is not at all what it used to be, there are animals all around. The town has really changed for the worst,” he said.
Mr Sheik added that at least 99% of local managers are not trained to deal with matters of this nature and that he believes it is time that such trainings be introduced.