An 80-year-old pensioner was shot and killed during a brazen robbery at a pension pay-out point, which is opposite the police station in Marquard, a small farming town in the Free State.
On Thursday, police responded to distressing cries and screams to find that pensioners at the pay-out point were being attacked and robbed by a group of armed men. A shootout between law enforcement and the suspects ensued.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, two of the suspects were shot, the one suspect was wounded and subsequently arrested, while the other was killed.
"At least another four suspects fled with a cash box".
He said the pensioner who was shot dead was a former police officer.
A security guard was also shot and wounded while the suspects fled.
None of the police officers involved were injured during the shootout and the wounded suspect is being treated in hospital under police guard.
Naidoo added that three firearms were recovered on scene, a rifle and two pistols.
The National police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole commended the swift and brave action by the police stationed at the Marquad Community Service Centre.
However, Sitole called on communities to mobilise together with police against "these ruthless criminals".
"We need to rally together against criminals to ensure that they are put behind bars for a long long time", he said.
The commissioner also conveyed his condolences to the family of the deceased retired police officer and wished the injured security guard a speedy recovery.