July 20 2009 at 11:09AM
Within days of a bloody crime spree that left three Pretoria residents dead and four fighting for their lives in hospital, police have struck back.
In the past four days three hijackers and house robbers were shot and critically injured in shootouts with police and 15 suspects were arrested.
The shootings came as police stepped up their fight against criminals laying siege to the city.
Between Thursday and Sunday police from the Pretoria Flying Squad, which responds to crimes in progress, arrested 15 suspects.
The latest arrests occurred on Sunday night moments after three men shot Jan Botha during a botched robbery at his house in Pierre van Ryneveld.
Two of the gunmen were caught by police as they fled from Botha’s home. Botha was shot through the leg as he drove into his garage.
The 15 suspects are wanted in connection with a spate of hijackings, house and business robberies.
The shootings came amid calls for police to take stronger action against criminals who have started a reign of terror in Pretoria.
The fightback began last Thursday when police arrested a suspect in Eersterus.
The suspect is wanted in connection with the hijacking and murder of a motorist in Stormvoel Road in June.
On Friday, police shot a man and arrested three others moments after they attacked and robbed a Pick n Pay store in Hercules.
Lifemed Ambulance Services spokesman Ruan Vermaak said the man was shot in the chest.
He is in a critical condition in Kalafong Hospital.
Hours later, Flying Squad members caught a house robbery suspect in Vaalbank after he and two other men allegedly attacked a family in their Rooihuiskraal home.
The suspect and his accomplices tied them up, ransacked their home and then fled in the family’s cars.
Police found one of the suspects hiding in bushes after community members took them to his hideout.
In three separate incidents in Eersterus on Saturday, police caught another eight robbery and hijack suspects, two of whom were shot during their arrest.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 20, 2009