Failed heist in Matara leads to shootout between Police and thieves

by Staff Writer 22-06-2018 | 11:31 AM
COLOMBO (News 1st):  A police officer was killed in a shootout with a gang of thieves who attempted to rob a jewelry store in Matara this morning (June 22nd). Police arrested 04 suspects over the crime and three of them were arrested at the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital while receiving treatment for gunshot injuries. According to reports, 06 masked and armed men stormed into the jewelry store at around 10 this morning. The employees had immediately activated the Burglar Alarm System and three officers attached to the Matara Police located nearby reponded to the alarm and reached the location. At that moment, the burglars who were outside the store had opened fire at the Police Officers. During the gun battle, one of the police officers suffered serious injuries and was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed to his wounds. Following the exchange, three of the burglars had fled in one of their motorbikes - however, it had malfunctioned upon reaching the Railway Street in Matara. Thereafter, they had hijacked a motorcycle and fled the scene - however, they were pursued by a Police SUV which had been in the vicinity for a separate official matter. The Police SUV managed to ram the motorcycle in close proximity to the Hunu-Kotuwa Railway Crossing and when Officers were about to make an arrest, the suspects had fled on foot. Police said shots were fired at that moment as well. The deceased Police Constable was identified as 34 year old W.G.G.N Weerasinghe from Godagama, Matara. Another two Police Officers and a civilian were injured and are being treated at the Matara General Hospital. Police Media Spokesperson SP Ruwan Gunasekera said one of the three injured suspects has been identified at Chamara Indrajith alias Kosgoda Tharaka who is a wanted criminal for a number of homicides and thefts. The Police Spokesperson said among the others arrested was the mastermind of the robbery. Police seized two motorbikes and a sub-machine gun from the suspects. A search operation is underway to locate the remaining suspects.