Cop Shoots Meru Man Following Row over Face Mask

January 14, 2022

There was drama at the Solution Sacco branch in Nkubu, Meru County after a police officer guarding the bank shot a client following a confrontation over a face mask.

The victim, Mr Pharis Karani Gatobu, said he had gone to the Sacco to open an account when Police Constable Roy Muchiri turned him away for not wearing a mask.

Gatobu bought a mask and returned to the Sacco offices but the officer allegedly demanded a bribe, threatening to arrest him for not wearing a mask.

Local Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit (CIPU) boss Robert Kabetu, who was monitoring bank guard duties, witnessed the commotion and asked what was going on.

A police report indicates that officer Muchiri informed his boss that there was no problem and that he and Gatobu were just talking.

Officer Shoots Civilian

Moments later, Kabetu heard a gunshot and found Gatobu limping about 40 metres from the Sacco.

Gatobu, a 23-year-old sound mechanic, was shot in the left ankle, shattering the left tibia-fibula. He was rushed to Consolata Mission Hospital in Nkubu, where he underwent surgery.

Dr Odongo Ochieng said the victim was out of danger but needed observation because his bone had been fractured.

“We have placed a metal plate to help in the healing process. The healing will take quite some time but we are hopeful that it will heal fully,” he said.

Officer Rescued From Angry Mob

Meanwhile, back at the Sacco, police officers rescued their colleague from irate boda boda riders who wanted to lynch him. PC Muchiri was whisked away to the Nkubu Police Station.

He was also disarmed and his AK-47 rifle with 29 rounds of ammunition placed in the armoury as evidence.

Confirming the incident, Imenti South police boss William Maronga said Gatobu had slapped the officer after being ordered to leave the Sacco offices.

Apparently, the officer had become suspicious of Gatobu because he had been loitering around the Sacco offices and could not explain what he was up to.

The police boss said PC Munchiri shot the man as the two struggled in the middle of the road in a bid to save him from being run over by a lorry.

The victim’s relatives protested the shooting, saying Gatobu was innocent and had never engaged in crime.

“My son was earning an honest living as a sound technician and had no grudge with anyone,” said his father James Gatobu Kiugu.

“We were shocked to see a police officer shoot him for no reason. I don’t know whether there is a law allowing police to act like that.”

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