By Peter Stevenson
Two investigations were ordered on Tuesday by the chief of police after a 20-year-old man was injured by police gunfire following a high-speed chase in Paphos late on Monday.
Three men were in the car at the time of the incident, the 22-year-old driver and two 20-year-old passengers, one of whom was injured. They were driving along the road which connects Kissonerga and Peyia at around 10.45pm on Monday night when two officers from the motorcycle Z Unit had signalled them to stop.
Officers were carrying out a routine check when they spotted the car approaching them which had no licence plates. When the driver spotted the officers he allegedly performed u-turn and sped away on a dirt road.
According to reports, the officers gave chase and fired five times at the car in an attempt to shoot-out the tyres, injuring the 20-year-old in the process.
The car was found abandoned on Tuesday morning in a farming area. The ballistic report indicated that a bullet had entered through the rear of the car, passed through the passenger seat and exited via the windshield.
Four unused shotgun cartridges and tools which are believed to be used in burglaries were found in the car, police said.
According to reports, the 22-year-old driver of the car told officers during questioning that he did not stop because there were drugs in the vehicle.
The young men had initially managed to get away but police caught up with them when at around 3.45am on Tuesday, the 20-year-old who was injured by a bullet to the left shoulder went to Paphos General Hospital’s emergency department. Due to his condition he was taken immediately to surgery.
According to the head of the hospital, Spyros Georgiou, the injury is not serious or life threatening. He is being held in the orthopaedic ward of the hospital under police guard.
Acting police spokeswoman Nikoletta Tyrimou said that the first investigation would take place to establish why a gun was used and the second to investigate why the two police officers in question used their weapons and did not immediately report it.
Tyrimou added that the two officers would be suspended and that none of the three men who were in the car which took part in the high-speed chase were under arrest.