A Port Elizabeth home owner shot and killed a suspected robber who was allegedly trying to break into his Bethelsdorp home during the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The incident happened at about 2:25am when the 31-year-old home owner confronted three men breaking into his Holly Street, Bethelsdorp, house.
Police spokesman Captain Johan Rheeder said the confrontation happened shortly after the home owner woke to noises of people trying to force open his front door.
“He grabbed his legal firearm and went to investigate. While assessing the situation, he saw three suspects at the front door trying to break it open. He allegedly heard the suspects cock a firearm. The home owner fired a warning shot,” he said.
“He then ran outside to investigate and saw the three suspects running away. While they were fleeing, shots were allegedly being fired.
“The home owner continued shooting at the suspects while he was chasing after them.”
Rheeder said the men ran into the adjacent Kammasie Street – only one street away.
“When he went into the street, he saw a body on the ground and the two suspects standing over him. As the home owner approached, the other two men ran away,” he said.
Rheeder said that while no firearm was found, several spent bullet cartridges were found around the vicinity of the house.
“Several shots were fired during this incident. We are investigating the case and it cannot be ruled out that the two suspects who fled had taken the firearm with them,” Rheeder said.
“Gunshot residue samples have been taken from the deceased to determine if he was one of the shooters. All the spent casings have been confiscated by detectives and sent to the ballistic laboratory for testing.”
Rheeder said that the casings collected on the scene would be run through the Integrated Ballistics Identification System (Ibis) to ascertain which other firearm had allegedly been used by the suspects.
“Our detectives are also following up leads and are attempting to locate the two suspects who escaped,” he added.
At the house, a screwdriver and other burglary implements were found at the front door.
“These have also been taken for our forensic unit to ascertain if any evidence can be gathered to assist with identifying the other two suspects,” Rheeder added.
The identity of the deceased is unknown to police.
Rheeder confirmed that the home owner had not been arrested.
“The case will now take its course and all the evidence gathered. Based on the evidence and various forensic reports, the evidence will be taken to the Senior Public Prosecutor for a decision to be made on how to proceed,” he explained.
“The home has however been broken into several times in recent months and detectives will now look to establish if these suspects can be connected to those open cases.”
The law states that a firearm can be used if there is imminent life-threatening danger or to save someone else’s life.
In terms of the law, the other two accomplices who escaped could be charged with the murder of the suspect when they are arrested.
“This will all be decided by the prosecutor when we have all the evidence on hand.”
A case of attempted house robbery and murder are under investigation.