UPDATED :THREE HOUR GUNFIGHT AT CHIHURI’S HOUSE
A rogue policeman guarding Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri’s house in Borrowdale, Harare, yesterday morning ran amok after his bid to loot property from the premises was foiled.
Police sources said Dr Chihuri’s gardener saw the suspect stealing household property and alerted an officer who had come to the house for a routine inspection at around 9.45am. The officer then confronted the suspect who, however, became agitated and started firing shots at the officer with his FN rifle. The besieged officer took cover and called for backup from Police General Headquarters.
“Backup swiftly arrived and a gunfight ensued lasting over three hours. The suspect allegedly tried to escape by using one of Dr Chihuri’s vehicles, but failed as the house had been surrounded. He then set the house on fire, damaging a significant section of the property’s roof,” said the source.
The suspect, attached to ZRP’s Support Unit, was then arrested after running out of ammunition. The Air Force of Zimbabwe and Fire Brigade then put out the fire before ZRP’s forensics and ballistics teams attended the scene. Investigations were still underway.
Part of the house’s roof was reduced to ashes. However, the value of goods and property destroyed during the melee could not be ascertained. Efforts to get comment from the police were fruitless by last night. Dr Chihuri’s neighbours said the incident started around 9 am and ended around 2pm after the whole area had been cordoned off.
One of the neighbours, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “The policeman from Support Unit was on duty alone when he started looting some clothes, television sets and other property in the house. He was later confronted by a gardener and there was an exchange of words.”
The neighbour further said a few minutes later, a senior police officer who had came for a routine inspection arrived at the house was informed by the gardener about the incident. The police officer confronted the suspect, resulting in a nasty exchange of words between the two.
“The senior police officer then phoned senior officers at the Police General Headquarters informing them about the behaviour of the police constable. This did not go down well with the police constable, who then produced his firearm with the intention of shooting his colleague. He fired shots but missed during the process,” said the neighbour. It is reported that a few minutes later, the house had been cordoned by armed police officers, resulting in an exchange of gunshots, which lasted for almost three hours.
The police constable is alleged to have run out of ammunition and decided to burn down part of the house before he was arrested. Fire brigade from the Air Force of Zimbabwe was summoned to the scene and managed to extinguish the fire.
Police officers from the ballistics and forensic departments, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and senior officers from Harare province also visited the scene.