Gunman shot dead, three others wounded

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ONE gunman was shot dead and three other robbers cum hostage takers were believed wounded in a shootout with police in Lae last Friday.
As at press time, police have captured seven suspects.
The real-life drama unfolded when an armed gang of robbers hijacked a 15-seater PMV bus at the Ignatius Kilage Stadium.
Several armed robbers boarded the bus and ordered the driver to drive to 2-Mile, where more than 10 gang members were waiting.
The passengers were then robbed of their belongings and valuables.
While at least 10 gang members kept watch over the hostages, the others boarded the bus and headed for Top Town, where they raided a telecommunications shop at 12.30pm.
No cash was taken from the shop but staff and customers were stripped of their personal belongings, handphones and laptops.
Lae metropolitan commander Chief Supt Anthony Wagambie Jr said police were alerted of the robbery and sped to the scene.
“The bus was intercepted at Papuan Compound, Sitos Street, by sector response unit (SRU) 101,” he said.
The robbers panicked and the driver crashed into a parked vehicle.
“They then tried to shoot at the policemen and the gunman was shot dead on the spot. Seven of the robbers were captured while three others ran into a crowd and fled,” he added.
“Police could not continue to shoot because of the crowd.”
Wagambie said the bus crew and passengers were rescued by SRU 102 and 2-Mile police after they were freed by the armed captors.
Police continued the pursuit for the gang members on foot into the swamp areas at the back of the 2-Mile, where one suspect was also shot when he fired at the police.
“It is believed that others were also wounded by bullets as they ran into hiding in the swamps,” Wagambie said.
“We are appealing to the public to report anyone seeking medical treatment for bullet wounds.”
While commending his men for the quick response, Wagambie warned would-be criminals “not to test police capability” and to stay away from violent crime.
He said police were already on high alert following “intelligence information” that criminals were planning a major robbery.
“We were not sure when and where they will hit,” Wagambie said.
“But we were told that they intended to challenge us in a cops-and-robbers situation. Life is irreplaceable, so to all the youths out there, do not play with it (your life).”

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