Pretoria - The fatal shooting of a police officer who was mistaken for a robber in Hillbrow is a tragedy, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Tuesday.
"Yesterday, could have been a tragedy of good intentions - purely a police tragedy," she said in Pretoria.
"We [the police] are not trigger-happy people."
She said police were there to ensure the law was adhered to and to keep South Africans safe.
On Monday, a police officer was killed and two others injured when police mistook them for robbers and shot them.
Police arrested one man after an attempted robbery in Hillbrow on Monday.
The saga started when police officers ran after one of the suspected robbers.
Another officer, 29, in a police van, also followed him and when he blocked the robber's path he was shot and wounded in the neck.
Two other officers, in civilian clothes, followed the shooter with their weapons drawn, when they were confronted by other officers who thought they were fleeing criminals. The two constables were shot.
One officer, aged 31, was shot and killed, and another, aged, 30, was wounded.
The wounded officers were taken to Milpark Hospital. No arrests had been made.
Phiyega said investigations continued. Gauteng police had launched a manhunt for the two robbers.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate was also investigating.
Phiyega said the police did not operate on notions or sayings like "shoot to kill".
Instead, they sought to do their work "in the spirit of the Constitution".