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An Mpumalanga police officer is being investigated for shooting a 25-year-old suspect in the leg in Barberton at the weekend.
Community members alerted the police about three criminals, who they said were terrorising them.
When the police arrived at a house in Glenthorpe, near Barberton, they found the suspects drinking beer.
The men were arrested but as they were being taken to a police van one of them allegedly produced a knife and tried to stab one of the policemen. Another officer shot the man in the right leg.
Barberton police spokesman Jabulile Ndubane said yesterday that the suspects had tried to overpower the officers.
"According to the statement we have, the cop was trying to rescue his colleague. If he did not shoot the suspect, [the suspect] could have stabbed the cop.
"A case of attempted murder was opened against the cop. The necessary documents have been sent to the director of public prosecutions, who will investigate the case," said Ndubane.
Police said several charges against the suspects, ranging from armed robbery to attempted murder, were being investigated.
The injured suspect was admitted at Rob Ferreira Hospital.