Bedford shooting: Syndicate may have been involved

The Hawks believe a larger syndicate was involved in last week’s shooting at Bedford Centre.

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

JOHANNESBURG - The Hawks say they believe a larger syndicate was involved in last week's robbery and shooting at the Bedford Centre in which seven people were wounded.

A gang of gunmen made off with cash after targeting SBV security guards at the centre, east of Johannesburg, on Thursday.

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.

The Hawks's Hangwani Mulaudzi says it's possible that more than ten people could have been involved.

"Initially we were talking about the number of 10. But we tend to believe there could have been more people involved. It's possible that the number can increase. We're looking for them all over the country. We'll make sure that those who were responsible are brought to book as soon as possible."

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

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

They managed to escape with an undisclosed amount of cash.

'LIKE A SCENE OUT OF A MOVIE'

Employees 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."

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.