Cape Town - Western Cape policeman Mthetho Sandla was a disciplined officer who died with his boots on, the Delft police station commander said at his memorial service on Tuesday.
"I think that the station has lost a hero," said Colonel Luyanda Damoyi.
"I want to say to you, your pain is ours," Damoyi told Sandla's grieving family at a service at the packed St Matthews Anglican Church in Delft, outside Cape Town.
"We are crying with you," said Damoyi.
Sandla was killed when AK47-wielding robbers opened fire on him and a colleague at a filling station in Delft in the early hours of June 13.
His colleague survived, but the 35-year-old Sandla died on the scene.
Police found explosives on the scene and believe the police officers had thwarted an ATM robbery.
Provincial commissioner General Khombinkosi Jula was among the senior officers who laid brightly coloured wreaths trimmed with a solemn purple next to a memorial stone erected in Sandla's honour in a quiet corner of the Delft police station. The mournful sound of the Last Post was played as police officers saluted him.
The procession moved through Delft to the St Matthew's Anglican Church, where a guard of honour lined the street near the church.
The pews were packed with colleagues, and family members mournfully sang and swayed to songs in memory and celebration of his life.
A projector showed a collection of personal photographs of him in various poses, including one of him in uniform.
Damoyi told mourners that he had received the news that Sandla was shot at 03:20 in the morning.
When he got to the scene, Sandla was still wearing his bulletproof vest.
Damoyi said he was not the type of police officer who had to be nagged or disciplined.
He completed numerous courses and never gave any problems.
"His file was empty," he told the family. "He did not disappoint you," said Damoyi.