09/08/2006 00:02 - (SA)
Cindy Preller, Die Burger
Port Elizabeth - "Don't let my husband know. He's got a heart problem," said a bleeding 74-year-old woman who was wounded in a shoot-out at a Uitenhage shopping centre.
Johanna van der Westhuizen and her friend, Martie Greeff, had just walked out of Pick 'n Pay, parcels in hand, when bullets started flying around them during a heist at the centre.
A security guard, Alfred Vice, 33, also was wounded during the attack when robbers tried to grab a cash box from him.
Greeff says she and Van der Westhuizen were chatting when the bullets started flying.
"I shouted to the tannie and tried to grab her, but we got separated," said a shocked Greeff.
She ran into the store, which immediately closed its doors.
A pharmacist, Edmund Hewetson, saw that Van der Westhuizen had been shot and used his hands to stem the flow of blood.
"The blood was spewing from her leg like a fountain," he said.
I don't think she realised that she'd been shot.
"She was quite calm and just asked me not to phone her husband," said Hewetson.
Elize van Jaarsveld, a nurse who'd been in the pharmacy when the attack took place, said Hewetson had probably saved the 74-year-old's life.
As Van der Westhuizen's luck would have it, there was a trained paramedic in the pharmacy as well.
Van der Westhuizen's granddaughter, Danette, said her 82-year-old granddad Hennie had had a triple heart bypass last month.
"They're very close and he says his leg is also hurting now", she said.
Danette said doctors did not plan on removing the bullet from Van der Westhuizen's leg.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu said Vice was leaving Pick 'n Pay with the cash box when he was accosted by four armed robbers.
They'd been sitting on a bench outside the shop.
"He drew his gun and shots were fired," said Naidu.
Vice, who was shot in the leg, managed to activate a mechanism that released a dye in the cash box.
Naidu said the men had fled without taking any money.
Their getaway car, that had been hijacked in KwaNobuhle last week, was found abandoned outside a church, said Naidu.