A 35-year-old security guard was killed in a bloody supermarket market shootout in Bulawayo’s Iminyela suburb when he tried to stop three armed robbers from raiding the shop.

The guard, Rhilimon Mudenda of House Number 698 Old Magwegwe was shot in the chest at around 8 pm on Tuesday at Cover Supermarket after reportedly shooting one of the robbers on the leg.

When the news crew visited the supermarket yesterday, residents were still in shock. Hundreds of Bulawayo residents would stopping by the door to ask what had transpired.

“We are still failing to come to terms with what happened here. Three men came into the shop the first carrying a gun, the second carrying a machete and the other carrying a bag. They fired three shots into the ceiling and ordered everyone in the shop to lie down. We all complied fearing for our lives. Mudenda sneaked into the back of the shop to load his gun,” said the shop manager who only identified himself as Mr Ncube.

He said the men ordered the till operator closer to the door to open the till and give them the money that was inside before firing another shot.

“The till operator started shaking with fear. Before she could open the till, Mudenda fired at the men and shot one on the leg. The men ran out of the shop carrying their injured colleague with Mudenda in hot pursuit. However, when he got to the door, the man with the gun shot him in the chest and he came back screaming,” said Mr Ncube.

He said fellow workers tried rendering first aid to help him as he was bleeding profusely.

“We tried helping by rendering first aid while we waited for the ambulance and the police to arrive. However, 20 minutes later he died before the ambulance or the police could arrive,” said Mr Ncube.

One of the residents, Mr Franco Maphosa said: “The armed robbers got into the shop in the evening at about 8pm and demanded money. The guard shot one of the robbers on the leg. On seeing that their colleague had been shot, one of the robbers opened fire and shot the guard.

“The gang managed to escape with their bleeding colleague.”

An Iminyela resident who stays near the supermarket said she did not hear the sound of gunshots.

“I did not hear any gun shots and was shocked when I saw people gathering at the shop saying a guard had been killed. We are now living in fear. Ever since the incident occurred there has been a heavy police presence,” said the resident.

Residents also said it was dangerous for anyone to resist armed robbers.

“This is a lesson to all of us and to the security guards out there. No amount of money is worth someone’s life and we should never resist armed robbers in the name of protecting our jobs or saving property because we might lose our lives,” said one of the residents.

Contacted for comment, Bulawayo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo said investigations were underway.

“We are investigating the murder of a man who was shot on Tuesday at Iminyela. We appeal to shop owners to always be alert especially during opening and closing times. We also urge them to hire the services of reputable security companies to avoid unnecessary loss of life,” said Insp Moyo.