Police on Monday shot dead an awaiting-trial prisoner who tried to escape from custody at the high court in Johannesburg

Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said the suspects were part of a five-man gang that tried to flee the court.

The gang members were appearing in court in different and unrelated cases.

“One of the suspects was fatally shot and two others seriously wounded. One suspect is in police custody and the fifth is at large. The four were apprehended before they could exit the court building,” she said.

Peters could not immediately give details about how the five had tried to carry out their botched plan.

“The circumstances surrounding the escape are still sketchy as police are on the scene with other role players, piecing together information. This includes the verification and confirmation of the identities of the suspects,” she said.

“At this stage, preliminary information suggests the suspects were armed with knives as two police members were stabbed. One member was in hospital with serious injuries,” Peters said. 

This is the second time that such a daring escape has been hatched at the Johannesburg High Court in 2019. Back in February, six suspects tried to take flight, but only two of them made a clean break. They were soon found and rearrested On Monday, the courthouse was put on lockdown as police back-up rushed to the scene.

After a struggle between law enforcement and the convicts, it’s understood one of the officers felt they had no choice but to open fire on the suspects. Although uncertainty remains in regards to the health of the would-be escapees, there have been no civilian casualties to report.

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