CONFLICTING versions of the shooting which claimed the life of a Johannesburg policeman and left two of his colleagues and a fruit vendor injured have emerged.
Constables Michael Tshomela, 31, Daniel Ndima, 29, and Mphedziseni Khumalo, 30, were on patrol in Hillbrow on Monday when they spotted a suspected armed robber. The man, along with two others, allegedly tried to rob a Hillbrow shop. Thwarted, the men fled.
One of the suspects was arrested near the shop while the others escaped.
Police management allege one of the robbers opened fire on the policemen, shooting Ndima – who was driving the marked police VW Golf – in the neck.
Tshomela and Khumalo got out of the car and chased after the suspect, while Ndima radioed for backup.
Police from Jeppestown police station, who responded to the call, shot Tshomelo in the head, killing him, and wounded Khumalo when they saw their plain-clothes colleagues running with their guns drawn, allegedly mistaking them for the robbers.
The vendor was shot in the leg as she tried to escape the chaos.
An Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) investigator, who cannot be named, said statements released by police and what appears to have happened differ.
"Certain information ... was left out, while exact details of how the shooting began do not add up. Police claim certain things, yet initial information indicates a potentially different story."
IPID spokesman Moses Dlamini said that "the investigation is under way. Any concerns ... will hopefully be answered".
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the injured policemen were in a serious condition in hospital.