Police launch manhunt for suspects after police officer gun downed in Free State

2020-02-09 12:07
A forensics expert examines a crime scene. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

A forensics expert examines a crime scene. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24, file)

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Free State police have launched a manhunt for at least three suspects following the murder of a Vierfontein police officer and the wounding of his colleague while tailing a suspicious vehicle on Saturday evening.

Spokesperson for the police minister, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters, said the two police sergeants followed a suspicious looking vehicle from Vierfontein to Orkney.

"The members alighted from the police vehicle to confront the suspects who also got out of their vehicle," Peters said.

"They began arguing with the police officials before they opened fire on and subsequently disarmed them both of their official pistols, two magazines and ammunition."

READ | Senior Cape Town cop shot dead in driveway

At about 21:05, the female officer called the commander at the Community Service Centre and frantically reported that they were under attack and shot by at least three suspects, Peters said.

Rapid response

The male police officer died on the scene after sustaining a gunshot wound to his chest, while his colleague was shot in the leg. She was rushed to hospital where she is in a stable condition.

Following the shooting, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole ordered the mobilisation of the 72-hour Activation Plan of all the necessary disciplines including Crime Intelligence, the Hawks, Forensic Experts and SAPS Detectives.

"This team must not rest until these ruthless criminals are all brought to book," Sitole said.

Minister of Police, Bheki Cele sent condolences to the family and friends of the deceased police officer and assured the family of the police's rapid response to the shooting.

"Police must leave no stone unturned in ensuring that these criminals, who clearly have no regard for the laws of this country, are found and get to face the full might of the law," Cele said.

Cele also wished the wounded officer a speedy recovery.

Cases of murder, attempted murder and robbery of the state-owned firearms and ammunition have been opened.

According to Lieutenant General Christine Mgwenya, 29 police officers were killed in the line of duty during the 2017/2018 financial year.

However, that number is lower than the 56 killed while off duty over the same period.

Data going back to 2012/13 indicates that off-duty unnatural deaths far outnumber the deaths of police officers while on duty, according to a SAPS briefing to Parliament in 2015.

Read more on:    police  |  bloemfontein  |  crime
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