x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Robbers deny attempted murder charge in shootout with Dubai Police

An armed robber tried to shoot his way out when he was cornered by police two days after the raid, a Dubai court hears.

DUBAI // An armed robber who shot a man during a raid on a hardware store tried to shoot his way out when he was cornered by police two days later, a court heard today.

Prosecutors said that HF, 21, was left in charge of his father's hardware store - Al Rizq Al Halal Trading Company - in Naif on Tuesday June 19.

He sent one of the shop's salesmen to a nearby bank to cash a cheque for Dh146,750, but when the salesman returned he had been followed by the two unemployed Iranians AA, 28, and QH, 25, who entered the shop and pretended they wanted to buy some tools.

The shop's salesman, a 19-year-old Indian MM, then went upstairs to look for the tools, at which point one of the men raised a gun at the shopowner's son and threatened to shoot him. However, the son assumed the gun was a toy and tried to resist the robbers. When he did so, he was shot in the chest.

"When I went upstairs I suddenly heard a gun shot," said the salesman. He ran down to see the son in a pool of blood. "The robber saw me and pointed the gun at me as he was walking backwards to reach the door," said the salesman, who then called the police and ambulance services.

Police identified the two robbers using camera footage from the shop and on June 21 tracked one of the men to his flat in Sharjah.

"He turned off all the lights and hid on top of one of the AC units," said a 25-year-old Emirati policeman.

When officers entered the flat and began to look around one of them noticed the man drawing his gun.

"We shot him in the leg," said the policeman, adding that the other man was arrested shortly afterwards on the same day.

"Both willingly confessed during investigations," said the policeman.

Both men are charged with attempted murder. One of them - AA, who was involved in the shootout with police - was also charged with possessing an unlicensed gun and five bullets.

At the Dubai Criminal Court both denied the attempted murder charge. "I did not mean to kill the man and I was drunk at the time of the shooting," said AA. He confessed to possessing an unlicensed gun.

The next hearing was scheduled for October 22.

salamir@thenational.ae