Bedford gunmen plotted heist at Wimpy

Seven people, including two cash-in-transit heist suspects, were wounded in the shootout.

Markings at the scene of a shooting at Bedford Centre on 29 January 2015. Picture: Emer-G-Med.

JOHANNESBURG - Staff at the Bedford Centre Wimpy on Thursday told Eyewitness News the gunmen involved in a shooting at the centre had coffee at the shop before the attack.

Seven people, including two cash-in-transit heist suspects, were wounded during a shootout outside one of the banks.

The two suspects are being treated in hospital under police guard.

Officers are now searching for their accomplices.

The drama unfolded just before noon when a group of men targetted the Johannesburg east shopping complex.

It's understood SBV security guards were coming down the escalators after collecting money from the banking mall on the upper level when they were approached by gunmen.

A shootout ensued.

The robbers then opened fire at random.

Employees and staff were shocked when they heard the first gunshots.

One witness said he tried to run away.

"As I was taking the escalator, I heard two shots. I ran back and took the video, that's when another two shots went off."

At a nearby sports shop, one eyewitness said it was like a scene out of a movie.

"I can't even stand right now I am so scared. We heard shots firing all over the place and when we went out, we saw people lying down. They chased us away, they said the robbers were still around. I've only seen that in the movies, not in real life."

Customers told Eyewitness News they hid in bookshops, under stairwells and in storerooms waiting for the green light from police.

One woman said she hid in Exclusive Books.

Shop owners and employees have meanwhile demanded tighter security at the centre.

The lower level of the shopping centre where the cash-in-transit heist took place was still cordoned off late on Thursday.

Piles of clothing and shoes covered in blood could be seen in the area where the heist took place.

Shops close to the banking area remained shut while it was business as usual at the other end of the mall.

Three people at a clothing store were wounded along with two security guards.