Manhunt launched for Bedford Centre shooters

Police are hunting for the rest of the gang involved in the Bedford Centre cash-in-transit heist.

The scene of a shooting at the Bedford Centre in Bedforview on 29 January 2015. Picture: Byron Moonsamy

JOHANNESBURG - While Bedford Centre employees fear going to work today, police have launched a manhunt for the rest of the gang involved in the brazen cash-in-transit heist at the 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.

Several people, including two robbers, were shot during the attack.

Of the seven wounded, three are shoppers, two are guards and two are suspects who are being treated under police guard.

The drama unfolded just before noon on Thursday.

It's understood the gang also randomly opened fire while fleeing the scene.

They managed to escape with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Employees have described what happened as a scene from a movie.

A woman says the smell of gunpowder lingered in the air.

"You could just smell that gun smoke, it's just hanging over the air and it's horrifying."

Another eyewitness says he grabbed his girlfriend and tried to run away.

"We just heard screaming, people running through the doors and we heard the gunshots. So I grabbed my girlfriend to get out of there."

For some, making an escape proved difficult and they hid in shops waiting for the green light from police.

A man said he hid inside the Exclusive Books store.

"The shots ran off and then there was a couple more shots fired, so we ran off again and decided to stay in the shop's storeroom."

Meanwhile, staff at the centre's Wimpy told Eyewitness News that the gang had coffee at the restaurant just hours before the attack and they are convinced they planned the attack there.

An employee says she's now frightened because she thought the mall was safe.

"I'm just a little worried about the security now and also a bit traumatised."

Some employees have threatened to stay away from work until security is improved.

Police and forensic experts combed the crime scene late into the night and are hoping that leads will bring arrests.

Despite promises from Gauteng police that security will be stepped up at shopping centres, the latest attack at the centre has left residents reeling in shock and uncertain about their safety.

Crime Line has appealed to the public to come forward with any information about suspects involved in the attack.

The crime fighting organisation has labelled this a very serious incident and says that someone somewhere has information on the involvement of the gang.

They have also called on police to beef up security at malls.

Crime Line head Yusuf Abramjee says, "At the same time we're calling on police leadership to come forward with urgent measures to stop the brazen attacks which are taking place in broad daylight, these types of crimes are very worrying."