NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – A police officer is among two people who were shot and seriously injured in a dramatic shooting on Kenyatta Avenue as police battled it out with suspected gun men.,
The officer was on patrol alongside two others when they bumped onto fleeing gangsters just outside the I & M building.
Before police could fire a shot, the gangsters opened fire, injuring one officer on the shoulder.
A man said witnesses identified as a newspaper vendor was also hit with a bullet in the arm. It was not clear who shot him during the confusion.
Witnesses told Capital News that gangsters had attempted to ambush a security van ferrying cash, prompting a shoot out with Administration Police officers escorting the van, a theory that was immediately dismissed by the police.
“It was just by bad or good luck that they met the AP’s escorting money. These criminals were fleeing after an attempted robbery near Jeevangee Garden,” Central divisional deputy Police chief Richard Muguai said.
Mr Muguai told Capital News that the gangsters had attempted to rob a woman who had just withdrawn money from a bank.
“She was able to give the particulars of the vehicle that tried to block her and we circulated the same information in our communication gadgets,” he added.
Unknown to the police, the gangsters had a police pocket phone in their car and heard their vehicle registration number being circulated.
“Our officers on strategic positions were instructed to intercept the vehicle, when it sped off towards Kenyatta Avenue where they spotted our officers on patrol and thought they were out for them,” he said.
Before the officers could make any move, two of the gangsters jumped out of the vehicle and started firing indiscriminately as they escaped.
A witness, Peterson Makau told Capital News that he was crossing the road when he suddenly saw two people emerge from a saloon car while shooting in the air.
“I was terrified because they were firing while running in different directions. I immediately took cover in a telephone booth,” he said.
“I can not really tell what happened but I saw two administration police officers who alighted from a security van shooting at the thugs,” he added.
When Capital News arrived at the scene, a police officer who had been shot was still writhing in pain as he held his gun.
His colleagues asked a motorist to rush him to the Forces Memorial Hospital for treatment. The other injured man was also rushed to hospital.
The incident caused a major traffic jam on the busy road, as curious onlookers struggled to have a glimpse of bullet cartridges that were scattered at the scene.
Police later announced that they had recovered the saloon car the gangsters were using.
“We found the vehicle at the Railways round about where it had been abandoned by the thugs,” Mr Muguai said.
He said they also found a pair of police uniform, a pair of hand cuffs, and a police pocket phone in the vehicle.
“No arrest has been made but our officers are still pursuing them,” he said and appealed to the public to volunteer information that could lead to their arrest.
The incident occurred a day after police thwarted what could have been a major heist at the Standard Chartered Bank, Moi Avenue Branch.
Six gangsters had sneaked into the bank officials prepared to open for the day, causing panic.
One of the managers however, spotted them and pressed the panic button.
When police were called, they were informed that workers had been held hostage by gun men but none of them was found.
Police safely rescued all the employees and conducted a search before they announced that no gangster was in the bank.
They arrested a security guard who claimed he had been tied by the gangsters and announced the attempted robbery may have been an inside job.
“We did not find any gangster in the bank. It appears a poorly planned inside job,” Mr Muguai declared before he called off the two-hour operation.