A YOUNG woman wearing a hijab (Islamic headwear) and two male accomplices led police on a high-speed chase and shootout along the Solomon Hochoy Highway on Tuesday night shortly after the trio staged an armed robbery at a bar in San Francique.
Police reported that the woman and men were occupants of a grey Ford Ranger and that the woman, who was the driver, pointed a gun through the window of the driver's door and fired upon the officers. Divisional heads later commended the officers who were involved in the chase and were thankful that no one was injured during the shootout.
According to a police report, at about 10 pm, the woman and two men entered Robin’s Bar in San Francique and announced a hold-up. They robbed the owner of an undisclosed sum of cash and several cartons of cigarettes before driving off.
A report was made to the Penal Police station CID and police including Sgt Gookool, PC Khaleel and others immediately responded and gave chase. A release from the TTPS stated that officers from the Southern Division Emergency Response Patrol received information from Command Centre to intercept the Ford Ranger that was being pursued by the CID officers along the highway.
Several roadblocks were set up along the highway. Police spotted the van proceeding at high speed along Gopie Trace and officers called out on the driver to stop. In stead, the woman leaned out of the van and began shooting at the police who returned fire.
The chase continued onto the highway near Tarouba. At 10.45 pm, the van veered off the highway and came to stop down an incline. The two men quickly exited the van and ran off through the bushes. Officers with their guns drawn, surrounded the van and the woman surrendered. A Smith & Wesson revolver was found in the van.
The woman was taken into custody while a search was conducted for the other suspects who were arrested hours later. All three remain in custody and are being kept at separate police stations. The female suspect is 24-years-old and hails from Avocat. The three who are suspects in other robberies, are expected to be placed on several ID parades before being charged. Detective Constable Khaleel of the Penal CID is spearheading investigations.