A wounded carjacker who sought refuge in a Ruiru church was dragged out of the Sunday worship service and shot by police before horrified onlookers.
He died on the way to hospital.
The criminal was running away from police, who had already shot him thrice, the officers said. They did not identify him.
The wounded man had run into the Israel Assemblies of God Church in Kihunguro area, Ruiru subcounty, and sat between women, pleading with them to hide him. He was bleeding profusely.
However, police officers stormed the church after a couple of minutes and demanded that he surrender.
The man had been part of a four-man gang that robbed an Uber taxi driver of his vehicle at Athi River in Machakos county on Saturday night.
One of his accomplices was shot dead by the police but he fled into the church to save his life.
Two others escaped.
Pastor Peter Maina said the service came to a halt when the man rushed in and sandwiched himself between the women. “We heard gunshots while worshipping and after a few minutes a middle-aged man entered the church while bleeding,” Maina said.
The fleeing man went straight to the women and pleaded with them to hide him. “But in less than two minutes the pursuing officers entered the church and told him to surrender,” Maina said.
The pastor pleaded with the police to spare the man’s life as he had sought refuge in the house of God.
“Maybe he was willing to change for the better, but the cops could hear none of that. They dragged him out of the church and shot him once more time,” Maina said.
Another pastor, Bedan Ng’ang’a, said that congregants washed away the blood inside the church and then held prayers to cleanse the structure.
Ng’ang’a called on youths engaging in crime to be saved.
Terrified worshippers said they were shocked to see a thug, who had hoped to save his life in church, but instead lost it.
Ruiru OCPD James Ng’etich said the two of four thugs were shot dead. He said the taxi driver was hired from Lang’ata area in Nairobi on Saturday night to pick a sick person in Athi River.
On reaching the destination, the man who hired him was joined by three other armed men.
They bundled him into the back seat of his car and drove him around the area before dumping him at a quarry, unscathed, he said. “They drove off with the vehicle but luckily it had a tracker and we traced them to this area,” Ng’etich said.
The police boss said the robbers shot at the police when they were confronted.
Ng’etich said one of the robbers died on the spot while the other, who had sought refuge in the church, succumbed to gunshot wounds on the way to the hospital.
Kihunguro residents praised the police for fighting crime and said thugs had turned the area into a hideout.
A few years ago the area was a no-go zone, especially in the wee hours, because anyone could be robbed easily.
“Thugs were ruling this place with impunity but thanks to the cops in Ruiru, we feel secure now,” resident Philip Mwaniki said.