Wed, 24 Apr 2019

An investigation into a wild west-like shootout allegedly between three military men and an off-duty police officer over the weekend in the Bluff, south of Durban, is underway, police said on Tuesday.

"Three people sustained injuries and were rushed to hospital. The firearms used during the altercation were seized by police and will be subjected to ballistic testing," police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said on Tuesday.

Gwala said the altercation between two groups began on Saturday evening at around 23:10 on Foreshore Drive.

"It is alleged that shots were fired as the argument became heated."

The drama began as guests were leaving a 50th birthday party hosted by Wentworth resident Melanie Simon.

Simon said a friend was experiencing car trouble outside the party venue.

"Our friend's key broke in the ignition. We were trying to get them started again. We were asking people for assistance while one of our relatives tried to find pliers."

She said that a car stopped with three men in it. An exchange of words ensued with the driver.

Shootout result of 'big misunderstanding'

"The next thing we know, they brought out guns from their nearby guest house and started shooting," Simon said.

One of Simon's friends, an off-duty police officer, was in the vicinity and shot back in defence. Three of her friends were seriously injured, Simon said.

"It was just a terrible sight. One of my friends was shot in the jaw and one in the eye."

She said that South African National Defence Force (SANDF) officials apprehended the three men. According to TimesLive, the men were not in uniform at the time of the incident.

The exchange of words was also over a "big misunderstanding", TimesLive reported.

"After the shooting stopped and some police came through, some of the men were trying to pick up the bullet casings," Simon told News24.

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Mafi Mgobhozi could not be reached for comment after several attempts by News24.

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