The Malta Independent 24 January 2022, Monday

Updated (4): Suspect in Mellieha shootout arrested by police

Thursday, 2 December 2021, 19:44 Last update: about 3 months ago

A man who involved the police in a massive manhunt in woodland in the limits of Mellieha was arrested by the police early on Friday after a search that lasted more than six hours, the police said.

The man, named by the police as Aidan Bartolo of Ghaxaq, had been hiding among the bushes in the Mizieb woodland, the police said.

He was arrested just after midnight. Bartolo had initially ditched the car he was driving and escaped on foot after being chased by officers on Thursday afternoon.

The man had also been involved in a shootout with police.

The incident started at around 6.30pm near the Mellieha bypass, when officers started to follow the suspect who was driving a Mazda Demio.

Realising that he was being followed, the suspect started to speed away. Near the roundabout off the bypass, close to a football ground, the suspect drove at the police who opened fire in an attempt to stop him.

He realised he was being followed and started to speed away. At the top of the hill at the roundabout near the football ground the suspect drove at police cars and the officers opened fire in an attempt to stop him.

The suspect later abandoned the car and proceeded into the woodland. TVM published a photo showing the vehicle with at least three bullet holes.

The police mounted a search for the man, with the help of the Armed Forces of Malta, but the suspect eluded the search which was being carried out in total darkness until the officers found him hidden in bushes, just after midnight.

Bartolo was taken to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance as a precaution as he had suffered some injuries when he was found. 

A magisterial inquiry is being led by magistrate Leonard Caruana. 

The police had earlier published the man’s photo and name, asking anyone with information to contact them on 21224001 / 119, even anonymously and quote the number 7/2021.

Several police units, including the Special Intervention Unit and the Major Crimes Unit, were involved in the seach. The Armed Forces of Malta assisted with a helicopter equipped with a searchlight.

Earlier reports that a person had been injured in the shootout have been denied.

Footage taken by One News (below) shows several spent rifle cartridge cases on the ground. 

 

 

 

Aidan Bartolo was one of two men who pled guilty in June 2020 to a string of six thefts that had taken place between December 2015 and January 2016. He had been jailed for 28 months. It is unclear at this stage as to how he is out of prison.

Video and photo by Giuseppe Attard.

video above: One News

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