Thursday, February 15, 2007


Shopping day fracas

Thursday morning in Coober Pedy is the busiest morning of the week. It is shopping day. From 7am onwards shoppers come to the supermarket.
This morning just before 8am while shoppers were coming and going at the Miners Store, a man chased some women across Coro Lane to the front of the Miners Store. He was shouting at them and they were running for their lives. The group burst into the undercover area right in front of the opening to the store. The man was hitting at the women with clenched fists. He looked to be intensely angry and was out of control. At the same time the manager of the store moved out very quickly from inside the store and proceeded to get in- between the man and the women and force the attacker away. He was successful at first, and in the lull that followed, he phoned police using a mobile phone while standing on the footpath, looking in the direction of the attacker, who had receded. But the phone call was diverted to Port Augusta as there is no-one on duty before 8.30 in Coober Pedy. Port Augusta police apparently tried to raise someone thought to have been ' on call' in Coober Pedy, but apparently there were not able to make contact with anyone.
No police responded.
In the meantime the attack began again, the attacker rushing violently at the women right outside the store. The store manager confronted him. The attacker rushed at him. The manager fought him off but the attacker shaped up, dancing like a prize fighter trying to intimidate an opponent in a title bout, attacking him, flailing punches.
The post office manager rushed out to assist the store manager. The store manager kept resisting the attacks of the angry, violent man and at the same time continued to force him away from the store front. Finally, with a combination of kicking and shoving and punching, the store manager managed to force the attacker down to the ground in the bitumen car park area very close to the street. He landed very heavily as a result of the store manager's efforts, and bounced a bit, and he clearly was fairly well stunned by the fall.
Then the women who had been attacked tried to pelt stones at the attacker as he was trying to regain his feet. The post office manager tried to restrain them. The store manager came back towards the store, trying to catch his breath, limping a bit.
More phone calls were made on the footpath to police from mobile phones. The response was exactly the same as before. No police came. The phone calls were made over a period of about ten minutes. For many minutes after things had become quiet and peaceful, there was still no police response.

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