Bloemfontein - An alleged robber shot himself in the head after an elderly couple was attacked and robbed at a farm in Smithfield, south-east of Bloemfontein, Free State police said on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson Constable Peter Kareli said the couple was attacked on New Year's Eve.
"It is alleged that two unknown males entered the farmhouse at about 16:00 on the 31st December 2018 and went to the couple's bedroom whilst they were taking a nap. They allegedly started assaulting them with a steel rod, demanding money and firearms."
He said the pair managed to access the safe and stole four firearms and ammunition.
The alarm went off and local farmers, as well as Smithfield police officials, reacted swiftly.
"One of the suspects was spotted trying to jump over the fence carrying a bag. He allegedly dropped the bag and jumped over into a muddy wetland surrounded by long grass. Farmers and local police surrounded the area and whilst approaching the area a single gunshot was heard from the direction of the long grass.
"As the police approached to investigate, they found a male person with a gunshot wound to the forehead. One of the suspected stolen firearms was found next to the deceased and the other one was found in the bag the deceased dropped whilst trying to jump over the fence."
The second man fled in the couple's vehicle and is still at large.
"Smithfield police request communities in the nearby towns to be vigilant and not to approach the suspect as he is armed and dangerous.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect can contact Detective W/O David Tshupa on 071 442 9851 or Smithfield Police Station on 051 683 6216/17 or crime stop line 0860010111," he said.
A case of armed robbery and inquest has been opened.
The Boere Krisis Aksie (BKA) said the farming couple were allegedly stabbed with knives. The man was seriously injured and had to be operated on while the woman was slightly injured.
African News Agency/ANA