A police officer was hurt in a rare shooting incident yesterday evening.
According to witnesses, three gunshots rang out from a consultation room at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) Accident & Emergency (A&E) department.
A suspect had earlier been escorted to the hospital by two police officers, after he complained of chest pains.
According to sources, one officer had stepped out of the room and the suspect allegedly attacked the remaining policeman.
In the struggle, the shots were fired.
Sources report that two paramedics, who were walking past the private room in KTPH, rushed in to help subdue the suspect.
"They jumped on him before he could fire again," he said.
The paramedics were visibly shocked when the shots were fired, said the man who did not want to be named.
There was a smell of gunpowder in the air.
The immediate worry was whether the suspect would run amok in the hospital and hurt more people.
The incident happened just after 7pm.
A police spokesman said: "He was swiftly brought under control and remains in police custody. The situation is under control and members of the public were not in any danger at any time.
"The accused sustained superficial injuries, while the 31-year-old officer sustained gunshot wounds to his thumb and foot. His condition is stable.
"Police investigations are ongoing."
The injured officer was rushed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). He was moved because he needed a specialist hand surgeon and one was immediately available, said a KTPH spokesman.
Family members of the wounded officer were spotted at TTSH late last night. A police officer was seen talking to two family members, giving them an account of what happened.
TNPS understands that the officer was hit between the thumb and index finger.
The family members declined to comment when approached.
Police officers milled around both hospitals last night.
Assistant Commisioner of Police Lian Ghim Hua was seen arriving at TTSH around 1am.
Relatives of patients waiting at the A&E department at KTPH did not seem to be aware of the drama that had taken place earlier.
A national serviceman, who wanted to be known only as Mr Leen, said he had been at the hospital since noon.
The 21-year-old was visiting his grandfather who was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
He said he did not hear anything even though the ICU is near where the incident happened.
"If there was a shot fired, I had no idea about it. I couldn't believe it when a friend told me through Facebook," said Mr Leen.
Hard to remove gun from holster
Police officers escorting accused persons are armed with the .38 Taurus revolver.
The revolver is a housed in a snatch-resistant holster moulded to the gun. The gun can only be drawn vertically. This makes it difficult, though not impossible, to forcibly yank the revolver out during a struggle.
A buckle over the cocking hammer prevents the gun from being fired while partially in the holster. As long as the cocking hammer cannot be pulled back, the loading chamber is unable to rotate and the gun cannot fire.
All guns are further secured with a rubber lanyard which is secured to the butt of the revolver and the belt.
Past cases of gun-snatching
Two men, trying to break into a shop, ran in separate directions after being spotted by police officers at Block 107, Tampines Street 11.
A police constable caught one of them, Ong Yeow Tian, at Block 127.
Ong stabbed the officer in the neck and grabbed his revolver, which was drawn. He shot the cop in the head before running away. The officer died of his injury several hours later.
During the manhunt, Ong used the stolen gun and shot at two other police officers.
He was caught and hanged for his crimes.
The incident prompted the study and later introduction of the snatch-resistant holster.
Two police officers spotted a group of men at Woodlands Street 81 and approached them.
They ran off in different directions. But one of the officers, a corporal, caught up with Anthony Tan Cheng Lock.
During the struggle, Tan grabbed the officer's revolver and shot him in the thigh before running away with the revolver.
A manhunt ensued and Tan was tracked down to his mother's flat at Chai Chee Street. As the tactical team stormed the flat, Tan shot himself in the head.
He was on a drug supervision order and had skipped mandatory reporting dates.
Syed Mohamad Nazmi Syed Alawi Alhamid, 33, armlocked a female Cisco constable and tried to grab her revolver, which was housed in a snatch-resistant holster.
As he struggled to remove the gun, the Cisco officer's colleagues noticed the struggle and came to her rescue.
Nazmi was pulled away.
He was later jailed for six years and given nine strokes of the cane.
This article was first published on June 21, 2015.
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