- A Free State man was arrested after he grabbed a police officer's firearm from her holster.
- The officer fled the scene, while the man randomly discharged several rounds in public.
- The man is known to the officer.
A Free State man was arrested and appeared in court after he grabbed a police officer's firearm in Mafahlaneng on 13 March.
A video of the incident shows the man firing several rounds into the air, in front of the officer.
He was allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
Moments later, the officer is seen fleeing the scene in her vehicle.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele told News24 the officer dropped her colleague off during a shift change when she happened to cross a group of people outside a local tavern.
"While speaking to one of the patrons, the 22-year-old suspect…opened the vehicle door and, without saying anything, grabbed her service pistol from the holster," Makhele said in a statement.
The man is known to the officer.
He is the son of her colleague, a police officer in Tweeling.
Makhele said the officer called for backup as she left the area to avoid getting shot at.
The man was later found at a friend's house wearing a police bulletproof vest. Police also discovered the pistol he had taken from the officer, hidden in a bucket.
"The suspect was immediately arrested for robbery, illegal possession of a firearm, discharging a firearm in a municipal built-up area as well as possession of suspected stolen state property."
The accused appeared in the Tweeling Magistrate's Court and was denied bail. He is expected to appear again in April.
"It is unfortunate that the same person known to the police official as the son of her colleague, who was even the reason why she stopped to check if he is fine, ended up being the one who took her official firearm," said Free State provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Baile Motswenyane.
Motswenyane ordered the district commissioner to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.
The commissioner has also been tasked with investigating the fitness of the officer and her operational readiness during the time of the incident.
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