A KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) police officer has been killed on Thursday 11 March in the latest death to cast a shadow over South Africa’s law enforcement community. The officer was shot dead by a suspect he was tracing in relation to an attempted murder case in Mountain Rise, Pietermaritzberg.
Police officer shot dead while tracing suspect
South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said that shots were fired from within a shack allegedly belonging to the suspect in the aforementioned attempted murder case in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“I can confirm that a 39-year-old Detective/Sergeant from Mountain Rise was killed in the early hours of this morning while tracing a suspect on an attempted murder case,” she said.
“The member was allegedly shot and killed while next to the suspect’s shack. Shots came from inside the shack.”
Muridili said that the suspect then fled the scene, but was later fatally wounded after he engaged in a shootout with police officers who were responding to the incident.
Concerns over SAPS members’ safety mounts
Muridili said that the 32-year-old suspect was found in possession of three firearms and ammunition including a firearm belonging to the police officer he had just allegedly killed.
This killing is the latest in a spate of incidents in which South African police officers have fallen victim to sinister violence, with sergeant Thamsanqa Mbedu becoming the fifth police officer to be killed in KZN in the past three weeks after he was shot 27 times on Tuesday. Two police officers were ambushed and shot dead in Cape Town during the same period, leading to the deployment of amplified response units to monitor the volatile Cape ganglands.
Police Minister Bheki Cele conveyed growing concerns over the safety of the country’s law enforcement officers last week Friday.
“We strongly urge that those who have been arrested be charged with treason and to receive a heavier sentence than in the past, so that others who wish to do the same can see the consequences. They should be made an example of,” he said.