Robbery suspects gunned down

Three robbery suspects in Lae were gunned down Monday morning while a fourth was seriously wounded on his leg following a gunfight with police.

The suspects had been involved in an armed robbery of an Asian shop owner at Downtown Lae around 9am yesterday (April 2).

The suspects were intercepted by a traffic police unit when they tried to escape in a Sedan.

The unit was in the area and was alerted by gun shots fired by the suspects, who wounded the Chinese national and a security guard.

Lae metropolitan superintendent, Commander Anthony Wagambie Junior, said the traffic police promptly contacted all units, who then blocked off possible escape routes.

However, the suspects, who were on high speed, open fired on police.

A bullet penetrated the windscreen of a pursuing police vehicle and went out the back window while another bullet hit the roof of the vehicle.

A police personnel on board sustained pellet wounds to his left arm.

Police could not immediately open fire for fear of injuring bystanders.

The chase started at top town Lae and ended at Busurum compound, where the suspects tried to escape on foot through the Martin Luther Seminary towards Sipaia village.

A lone SRU member spotted them at the back of Malahang Technical College, where the suspects turned around and fired at him.

The officer then returned fire, pushing the suspects further into the back area between Sipaia and Hanta Compound.

Another gun fight ensued when all police units arrived on scene; a young constable narrowly escaped when he was almost gunned down at close range.

Two factory-made shotguns, a homemade gun and live ammunition have been retrieved by the police.

It is believed that high-powered rifles were used, judging from the distance and impact of the bullet on the police vehicle.

Wagambie Junior is warning gangs in Lae to be mindful now that the response time in Lae is very fast.

He said it was only divine intervention that protected his policemen during the ordeal.

(Lae police after the confrontation)

Imelda Wavik