Murdered policeman Constable Songezo Khetiwe was committed to the badge and people he served, but was "taken out" after only three years in the service.
Described as jovial and disciplined, Khetiwe, 31, was shot dead on Sunday morning while on a crime prevention patrol in Delft South, Cape Town.
Two of his colleagues were seriously injured when a man opened fire on the officers' vehicle on Spekboom Street.
Minutes later, a patrol vehicle responding to the shooting was also shot at by the same suspect outside a supermarket on Sandelhout Street
Cop killed, two others seriously injured in Cape Town shooting
The three responding officers returned fire, injuring the alleged shooter who is currently under police guard at a hospital.
Delft Community Police Forum chairperson Pastor Charles George condemned the young officer's murder.
"For someone as young as him to just be taken out is simply not acceptable," he said.
'Joyful and always smiling'
George added he had met Khetiwe once at the police station and recalled he was a "joyful guy, always smiling".
Khetiwe joined the police in 2016 and as a trainee constable was based at the Steenberg police station before being transferred to Delft, where he was part of the crime prevention team.
Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said Khetiwe's colleagues described him as being warm toward people and committed to his job.
He was family's breadwinner and took care of his unemployed brother and sister, she added.
A memorial service is planned for Thursday and the father of two will be buried in Qumbu, the Eastern Cape, on August 3.
Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the injured officers as well as Khetiwe's family on Monday afternoon.
Delft is one of the 10 most gang-ridden areas in Cape Town, which contributed to 42% of attempted murders in the province.
The SA National Defence force has been deployed to these precincts for three months after President Cyril Ramaphosa gave the go-ahead for soldiers to enter gang-infested areas to assist the police in their operations.
The deployment of the 1 320 soldiers costs R23m.
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