A rocky six-year marriage ended in a hail of bullets that left two family members dead and one seriously wounded.
On Sunday afternoon Dikeledi Matsipane, 35, of Magogoe- Tlhabologo near Mafikeng in North West, wrote a note to her mother claiming that her husband, police Inspector Omphemetse Matsipane, 39, wanted to kill her and their children.
She then took her two children, aged seven and four, to her parent's home.
Later that day her husband came to the house and ordered his mother-in-law, Esther Makgetha, 61, to give him back his children. They started to argue and shots were fired.
His mother-in-law was shot in her right breast and his wife was shot in the left side of her chest. The mother-in-law died instantly.
Both children were present, but were not harmed.
The police were notified and when they arrived at the scene, shots were fired at them.
A police inspector was hit, but was saved by his bullet-proof vest.
Matsipane then shot himself through the chin and died instantly.
Matsipane's wife is in a critical condition at Mafikeng Provincial Hospital.
Family members said Matsipane was drunk, but had not shown any sign of violence.
They said the couple had fought a lot since they had were married.
A neighbour, Seadimo Phetlhu, 46, said she had been speaking to Matsipane's wife and mother-in-law earlier that day and had then gone home to sleep.
"I heard the sound of gunfire, but I stayed in bed.
"When the third shot went off I got up and went outside to check. Then I saw Omphemetse dragging his mother-in-law outside the house before shooting her," she said.
Phetlhu said her neighbour's house had been empty since the incident.
Matsipane's mother, Motshidisi Matsipane, 73, said she was shocked by what happened.
"It is a difficult situation and I do not know what to say or do," she said.
Police spokesman Captain Lesego Metsi said they were investigating, and an inquest docket had been opened.