Shootout at 8am, Friday 18 April 2008, in Houghton Estate, Johannesburg South Africa

Categories life, politics

Thank you very much for viewing this footage. I’m terribly sorry at how unclear it all is. I started shooting this sequence approximately 30 seconds after the shooting stopped.

Here are links to the bits that made it onto the web:


My biggest worry at the time was that my girlfriend had JUST left for work. Turns out that she drove past the three guys walking out of the gate at exactly the moment I looked out my window.

Here’s the sequence of events as I witnessed it all:

1. Approximately two minutes to 8:00am, Friday morning, 18 April 2008, I heard a man shouting outside, ‘Help, help, call the police, help!’

2. I went to the window, looked out, and saw a white man shambling away from an open garage. He was sort of shuffling his feet, not really running. In a way, he looked drunk.

3. He got about 10 metres away from the open garage, going west along Osborn Road, corner Lloys Ellis Road.

4. I saw three very well dressed black men exiting the open garage. They were in formation, walking with determination, but not fast. There were two average height, average build guys, with a very large, well built guy bringing up the rear. The well-built guy appeared to me to be in command. He wore a dark brown leather jacket with cloth cuffs, which were a tan colour. Good shoes. And a black ‘Andy Capp’ hat.

5. I heard a police siren make a very short ‘squirting’ sound.

6. The big guy looked back, and reached into his jacket.

7. From their exit, to the siren squirt, to the hand reaching into jacket was less than four seconds, and they were approximately 10 metres from the open garage.

8. I ducked below the level of my window, and started prepping Qik on my phone, to try and get some footage of whatever was happening.

9. Just as I ducked, I heard gunshots. I estimated at the time that there were 15 to 20 gunshots. And I read later in the paper that there were 20 on the nose.

10. The spurt of gunfire lasted no longer than 5 seconds. And then there was silence for about 5 seconds.

11. I looked up out of the window, and saw a policeman stumbling in the direction of the three men. The policeman was limping badly, and looked very very dazed. I could see him clutching his groin with his right hand, and gesturing back to someone with his left hand. He was saying, ‘Call an ambulance. Call an ambulance. Call an ambulance.’

12. I’m not sure what was happening with Qik at the time. I THOUGHT I was live streaming, but if I was, it didn’t record. Cos it’s not online.

13. All of the streaming that I did is a bit disjointed and weird. It was very hectic knowing that someone had just been shot. I also tried phoning my girlfriend at this point, and her phone rang to voicemail. Which scared the shit out of me. The second time I called, she answered. And she was fine. She had driven away from it without being harmed.

14. When I went downstairs, I continued filming. I estimate that about seven minutes of footage has been lost somehow.

15. I read in the paper that one witness claims to have seen 4 men, and the man whose house got robbed also made the same claim. I’m VERY doubtful of this claim. Because I watched three men leave. And they did it with absolute military precision.

16. When I saw the pictures of the bullet holes in the police vehicle, it occurred to me that the clustering was very accurate. These shooters knew exactly what they were doing. And they did NOT look nervous at all.

17. Police claim that one of the wounded policemen’s R5 rifles was stolen by the armed robbers. This is so totally unlikely that I smell all sorts of rats. If that rifle disappeared, someone took it AFTER the robbers made their getaway. The two police were in their vehicle when they got shot.

18. The crime scene itself was ultra chaotic. I freely went under the police tape, and shot footage live on Qik via my cellphone. It was only when I was right up close to one of the wounded policemen that I was escorted away.

Thanks for viewing this footage. And please be safe. Be alert. If you’re viewing this and you’re a South African, please understand that we’re living in a warzone. This happened at 8am on a Friday. And these guys were slick professionals. To them, this was just another day at the office.

I don’t know how the two policemen are doing. According to the news, both are in a critical condition in hospital. I wish them both complete recoveries.

Blue skies