By Lucy Kopana – EMTV News, Lae
The identities of three armed men who were shot by police, following an armed robbery in Lae on Monday, are still unknown. One of the suspects who was wounded was identified to be from the Sipaia area.
Lae Metropolitan Commander Anthony Wagambie Jr said, according to eyewitnesses, two suspects escaped, with one in possession of a high powered firearm.
They were involved in an armed robbery on Monday morning. One of the shop owners in Lae’s down town area was robbed and police were alerted when shots were fired at a security guard, wounding him in his lower body.
Police arrived at the scene in time to sight the criminals escaping in grey Sedan at high speed. The police chased the suspects and one of the police vehicles in pursuit was shot at twice. The bullet penetrated through the front windshield damaging the back windshield. One of the police officers on board sustained injuries from the pellets.
The police chased the criminals through Chinatown, to the Busurum compound, where they abandoned the vehicle and continued on foot. They (police) caught up with the suspects in between Sipaia and Hunta compound areas, shooting three of them dead, and wounding the other one.
“Two factory made shot guns, a homemade gun and live ammunition have been retrieved by police. The weapons had live ammunition in the chamber and barrel,” Mr. Wagambie said.
“We believe there was also a high powered rifle used, judging from the distance and impact the police vehicle received when fired upon by suspects”, Wagambie added. Mr. Wagambie said, they are investigating where the criminals got the weapons.
Eye witnesses confirmed they saw one of the suspects escape with a high powered rifle. That suspect has not been caught.
Lae has experienced a general decrease in crime levels since the inception of the Sector Response Unit, and the toll free number. Mr. Wagambie said, Monday’s robbery has put the police response to test. “The response by our units was very good. All the units in the vicinity responded quickly and managed to isolate the criminals into an area which police could approach them and deal with them”.
Mr. Wagambie also commended his officers for practicing restraint when they were shot at several whilst in pursuit. “It would have been terrible if the police shot at the criminals and the gun fight kept on going on in the public place whilst the vehicle was moving”.
He warned criminals to refrain from criminal activities, saying police are prepared to respond to alerts.