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A GUN-totting robber yesterday shot and injured two people in Bulawayo as he tried to escape an angry mob that was baying for his blood.
Thokozani Zulu was part of a gang of three armed robbers that allegedly robbed a China shop of US$10,000.
His accomplices got away leaving him to contend with the mob.
Police rescued Zulu from the crowd which indiscriminately rained blows on him after he shot Tombia Ngwenya, 24, and a commuter omnibus conductor, Emmanuel Chirodzero, 26, at Basch Street terminus, popularly known as Egodini.
Zulu lost three teeth in the ensuing free for all beating.
Witnesses said the robber’s friends fled as a Chinese shop owner along 6th Avenue screamed and shouted that they had robbed him.
“We heard someone shouting ‘thief’! We saw a man running from a group of people running after him near Willsgrove Supermarket along Lobengula Street,” said a vendor.
She said as the mob gained on the man, he stopped at some vending bays near the supermarket and pulled out a gun.
“Someone shouted it was a toy gun and the crowd advanced menacingly towards him. People were shouting that he must be taught a lesson,” said another witness.
He fired a shot that hit a woman on the thigh, said the witness.
The robber, said a vendor, ran towards Basch Street terminus brandishing his gun and telling people to move out of the way.
Police officers who were standing at the main Gate at Ross Camp fled when the gunman charged in their direction.
A group kept following him at a distance, said another witness.
“He turned and started running towards Egodini where he encountered a kombi at the give way sign next to Egodini along Basch Street,” said a tout.
“He fired two shots into the air, probably trying to hijack the vehicle. The conductor closed the passenger door. Zulu fired at the driver but missed and hit the tout on the arm.”
The robber allegedly ran through Egodini terminus waving his gun to clear his way.
A mob finally cornered the tired looking gunman in a shop next to OK at Lobengula Street Shopping Mall.
“Touts and vendors dragged him from the shop and disarmed him. A free for all assault began with people hitting him with empty bottles and stones,” said Mkhululi Sibanda, a tout.
Police arrived and handcuffed the robber, said Sibanda.
“However, the mob grabbed him from the officers and continued bashing him. If the police hadn’t been resolute, the crowd could have killed him.”
Zulu is admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital, under police guard.
Ngwenya and Chirodzero were treated and discharged at the same hospital.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Insp Precious Simango said investigations were in progress.
“We arrested a man following a shooting incident in the city centre. The man is unconscious in hospital. Investigations are in progress,” said Insp Simango. source-chronicle