Blood spattered dockets lay strewn around the detectives' offices at Kagiso police station in Krugersdorp after four policemen were shot dead by a senior police officer on Monday night.

Three of the officers were shot in an office - two in the head and one in the chest - and another officer's body was found lying outside the office with a bullet wound in the chest.

The three were found lying under a table scattered with dockets, with three bullet holes marking the wall behind the table.

"We will just have to rewrite these dockets," remarked one officer.

Superintendent Chippa Mateane, 44, was shot dead by colleagues in Sebokeng at 4am on Tuesday after an extensive manhunt.

Police spokesperson Senior-Superintendent Mary Martins-Engelbrecht said Mateane shot dead three captains and a senior superintendent at 7pm.

Mateane had shot dead three women - aged 24, 30 and 48 - and a one-year-old baby boy in Tarlton about half-an-hour before he made his way to the police station.

Another woman, 21, was wounded and taken to hospital in a critical condition.

He fled the scene in a police car which he later abandoned, making his way to Sebokeng where he shot his brother who is in hospital in a critical condition.

His colleagues then managed to track him down and shoot him.

At the station, police officers and bystanders held their heads in despair, refusing to speak when a Sapa reporter approached them for comment.

"It's tragic, we were like a family, we supported each other," a woman police officer, who asked not to be named, said.

Another policeman said: "This is Satanism. We only see this in the movies."

Sobbing relatives of some of the victims sat hunched with their heads between their legs in the charge office, while others slept on wooden benches and some just sat chatting.

Martins-Engelbrecht said the motive for the shooting was not known, and it was also not clear how the murdered women and child were related to the police officer.

Beeld newspaper quoted a friend of Mateane as saying one of the women had been his girlfriend.

The friend, identified as Kingdom Mothupe, 46, said the child was not Mateane's.

Mothupe had known Mateane for 20 years.

Meanwhile, National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi, who visited the scene by helicopter during the night, said he was "extremely dismayed at the news".

"It is unknown what sparked such an unacceptable level of rage in the superintendent and it pains me to even try and understand what could cause a man to embark on such a senseless carnage," he said.

"In the meantime, detectives are putting the pieces together to try and establish what motivated such callousness.

"I want to convey my condolences to the families of the police officers as well as the civilians for the untimely loss of their loved ones and I want wish the two wounded people a speedy recovery," Selebi said through a spokesperson.

The four policemen killed were Senior Superintendent MM Zondo, 42, Captain TD Masipa, 38, Captain JM Sokhela, 42, and a Captain Monama, who was in his 40s.

A bystander was run over by police and killed during the incident, bringing the death toll to ten.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said it was "seriously disturbed" by Mateane's action.

"This is indeed shocking. We are finding it difficult to comprehend what could have prompted the superintendent to act in such a heinous manner when in actual fact he should have been the one responsible for the safety and security of the people.

"As Popcru we condemn the action of the superintendent. However, in the same vein we think that this incident behoves the management of the SAPS and the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner to institute an urgent inquiry into what could have led to this heinous murder of innocent people," Popcru said.

The police service had to bolster its support system to help members experiencing frustration.

"Lastly, Popcru wishes to express its deepest condolences to all the families of the victims. We hope that they draw solace from the knowledge that they are in our thoughts during these tough times."

The Democratic Alliance was also "extremely disturbed" by the killings.

"We believe it highlights the fact that the current psychological counselling of police officers is not adequate," DA Gauteng police spokesperson John Moodey said.

"I would like to suggest that the national Minister of Safety and Security and Gauteng's Safety MEC urgently examine the feasibility of providing mandatory counselling for all SAPS officers in the province.

"At present there is no compulsory counselling and stigma can attach to police officers who seek counselling of their own accord.

"If every frontline officer was made to go for counselling at least once every three months, we believe many serious psychological problems could be detected in advance and solved before they became life threatening.

"This would pay dividends in police officers better able to do their jobs, less stress leave, fewer early retirements and fewer incidents like the one that happened last night," Moodey said. - Sapa