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A BULAWAYO man was rushed to hospital after a masked gunman shot him on the shoulder in a failed robbery attempt. Police sources believe the balaclava-clad robber struck at two places in Njube suburb before the shooting at a shopping centre in neighbouring Iminyela on Tuesday night.
The crimes were committed within a space of an hour.
The robber left Charles Tshuma (44) sprawled in a blood spattered TeleCash kiosk after failing to grab cash at around 6PM.
The bullet went through his shoulder and ricocheted off the tin roof of the kiosk.
National police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi could not be reached for comment yesterday but Tshuma, speaking from a hospital bed at Mpilo Central Hospital, said he was still shaken by his close brush with death.
“I’ve only heard gunshots on television. I can’t believe this happened to me. I can’t believe a bullet went right through me. I’m lucky and grateful to be alive,” he said.
“I hope the culprit gets caught before he injures or kills innocent souls.”
Kelvin Marange (41) who runs the TeleCash kiosk told The Chronicle that he had just closed the door and window panel when a man suddenly knocked and said he wanted to buy airtime.
“I was with my nephew (Tshuma), whom I stay with at home. I decided to serve the customer but before I could open he said he was going to get money.
“He came back in less than five minutes. I opened the door to attend to him. Imagine my shock when I was confronted by a masked man who was demanding all the cash I had,” said Marange.
“I refused to give him anything and I moved closer to him. I didn’t take the man seriously. I didn’t anticipate what followed.”
He said Tshuma came up behind him from inside the kiosk and the masked man fired a shot.
Tshuma, Marange said, fell down, crying out for an ambulance.
“Frankly speaking this robber didn’t intimidate me. I didn’t for a second feel threatened because he was actually very short in stature. If I had known how serious this man was, I would have given him the money,” said Marange.
He said he made a report to police and rushed his nephew to hospital.
Marange said while at the police station, he heard news of two robbery incidents in which a masked armed man got away with cash and cellphones in the streets of Njube.
Police sources said in one of the incidents, the armed robber fired a shot into the air and demanded cash.
“The people quickly handed over their valuables and the man got away,” said a source.
A man who preferred anonymity told The Chronicle he witnessed the shooting at the kiosk.
“I saw a man disembark from a black car. A driver and one passenger remained. The man headed into the kiosk.
“After a short while, as I waited for a friend in front of a grocery shop, I saw that same man, now masked, trying to force open the kiosk door.
“Marange opened the door and they argued for about a minute. By then onlookers had started moving towards the kiosk. In a split second we heard a gunshot. The robber fled into the darkness. The black car sped off,” he said. Whinsley Masara source-Chronicle