A former pupil of the Mebelebele High School in Umlazi, south of Durban, who stole his policeman father's service pistol and went on a shooting spree at his old school, is under police guard at a Durban hospital.
The 17-year-old youth left school in 2006 while still in Grade 8.
He was arrested by police on Friday three days after being on the run and is believed to have shot himself in the head and chest when confronted by police. He is in a critical condition.
Police said yesterday that the teenager is the son of a metro police officer. The say last Tuesday he went to his old school to seek revenge on another pupil whom he suspected of dating his former girlfriend.
He allegedly stole the gun out his father's safe and went to the school, verbally intimidated teachers and learners and began firing shots in the air.
Terrified teachers and pupils had to dive for cover when he started firing.
A school teacher told Sowetan that the youth came into the schoolyard during the morning assembly, shouting and insulting the principal, his former schoolmates and teachers.
"Teachers and pupils ran for cover and locked themselves inside classrooms. Pupils hid under desks and many others fell to their knees, staying away from the windows.
"He was very angry and fired five shots in the air. We were frightened," said the teacher.
A senior teacher said: "The incident has left pupils and teachers traumatised, fearing that the teenager could strike again.
"He has two accomplices who are still walking the streets and who also terrorise the community and pupils. These boys are known drug users."
This is not the first time that the teenager has had a run in with the law. He has a case pending after the school principal laid a charge of intimidation against him last year.
The youth also allegedly insulted a parent who was at the school gate. After the shooting he fled the scene on foot.
Police spokesman Captain Khephu Ndlovu said the boy's father had already filed a charge of theft after he discovered that his firearm had gone missing that morning.
"The boy stole the gun out of his father's safe. Police were already looking for him, but he had fled the scene. He had been on the run from police for two days."
Police reports indicate that detectives spotted him in the area and when they gave chase he fired at them. The officers retaliated.
"When the teenager realised police would not give up [chasing him] he shot himself in the neck and chest. He was then taken to a local hospital," said Ndlovu.