Farmer shoots neighbour and cop on Koffiefontein farm before being shot himself
A police officer and two others were killed in a bloody shootout late on Thursday at Dassiekop Farm in Koffiefontein in the Free State, police said on Friday.
According to the police, officers on patrol received information about a suspicious vehicle at Dassiekop Farm and quickly established that the vehicle belonged to 36-year-old Coenraad Badenhorst.
Badenhorst was a neighbouring farmer who previously allegedly threatened 60-year-old Paul Nel.
"Whilst on the way to investigate the complaint [a police officer] called Mr Nel to notify him to be cautious. Whilst talking to him on the phone, she heard noises and Mr Nel's phone went dead," police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said.
She said officers called for backup while heading to Nel's home.
"On arrival at the farm, Mr Nel's body was found on the front porch with a gunshot wound to the head."
Unbeknownst to police, Badenhorst had been hiding in the bushes.
"He fired shots at the police and 27-year-old Constable Vuyani March was hit [in] the head and died at the scene whilst 41-year-old Sergeant George Calvert was shot in the face and rushed to Kimberley Hospital for treatment."
Mbambo said other officers returned fire, injuring Badenhorst.
"The suspect was shot and died on the way to hospital. The firearm – a hunting rifle - was found at the scene. Three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder have been registered for further investigation."
Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Moeketsi Sempe gave his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the police officer who was killed.
"It is unfortunate that we woke to such gruesome, disturbing news of yet another incident in Koffiefontein where one of our members [were] killed whilst performing duties. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to the injured member who [was] admitted to Kimberley Hospital".
Minister of Police Bheki Cele has condemned the attack. While passing his condolences to family and friends of the cop, Cele said attacking a police officer was the same as attacking the State.
Safety of our men and women in blue remains high on the agenda of the [police] and is at the heart of [our] strategic imperatives to ensure the safety of our members. Police members are a national asset and they need to be protected by all of us including members of the community," he said.
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Francois Beukman, said it was unacceptable that officers continued to be killed.
"The committee remains of the view that the killing and attack of police officers is a direct attack on the rule of law and the Constitution of the country."
He called on police not to be deterred by the attack and urged the public to continue working with the law enforcement to deal with criminals.
"The committee further wishes the wounded officer a speedy recovery."
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