The Diepsloot taxi rank in Soweto. File picture: Boxer Ngwenya/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - Police in Gauteng on Thursday launched a manhunt for a group of five or six suspects who fatally shot a 42-year-old police reservist, Constable Nicholas Maluleke, during an armed robbery at a Diepkloof taxi rank supermarket.

Police spokesperson for Gauteng, Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, said the constable was shot Wednesday night around 8 pm.

"He died on arrival at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Police have launched a manhunt for the suspects who fled from the scene in a Toyota Quantum and a Corolla with unknown registration numbers," said Dlamini.
 
The Lieutenant said Maluleke and a colleague were doing foot-patrols at the taxi rank when they responded to an armed robbery complaint at a supermarket. 

"On approaching the crime scene, several shots were fired at them. Maluleke was shot and wounded in the upper body. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died on arrival. His colleague was not hurt."
 
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Deliwe De Lange condemned the attack and the killing of yet another police officer. 

“A team of detectives  will work around the clock to hunt down these ruthless criminals who have  declared war on police officers. I am also appealing to the community members to isolate these criminal gangs,” said the commissioner.
 
The fatal supermarket shooting was the second incident in as many weeks in which a police officer was killed. Last week Warrant Officer Sipho Boy Mthethwa was shot dead in Vosloorus. 

In Braamfischerville a detective was shot and wounded while trying to trace a violent crime suspect.

Police said they were offering a reward to any person who has information that "may lead to the arrest and conviction of criminals committing serious and violent crimes". Information may be forwarded to Crime Stop at 08600 10111.     
 
African News Agency