Police have launched a manhunt for the awaiting trial prisoner who shot and killed a police officer before escaping from the Tembisa Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
Joshua Bomba Shongwane was due to appear in connection with a series of hijacking cases‚ police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said. Shongwane was an awaiting-trial prisoner for nine hijacking cases allegedly committed in Tembisa‚ Rabie Ridge and Kagiso during 2012.
The prisoner is considered to be armed and a dangerous. He has a history of escaping from court cells‚ Dlamini said. "Shongwane was at the court cells when he held up three police officers and pointed them with a firearm.”
Dlamini said the escapee took the cell keys and locked the officers in an office inside the court cells. “He allegedly went down stairs where he shot a Captain and escaped. The officer was shot in the lower body and died at the scene‚" Dlamini said.
Dlamini added that an investigation was in progress to determine how the prisoner got hold of a firearm while he was in the court cells. The dead policeman had not yet been named. MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said she was disturbed by the brazen attack and disregard of the country’s police officers by criminals.
“The province has been robbed of a selfless and dedicated member of the South African Police Service. “I appeal to the criminal justice system to apprehend a suspect and ensure that he receives the harshest sentence‚” Nkosi-Malobane said. Court proceedings went ahead on Wednesday morning after the shooting‚ but only those who were appearing before the court were called inside the building.
Most people milling outside the court at noon did not witness the incident‚ which happened inside where prisoners are offloaded before appearing. However‚ according to someone who arrived at court moments after the shooting‚ witnesses were traumatised by the incident. times