A police constable in Giyani, Limpopo, committed suicide with his service pistol in the belief that he had killed his wife.
The 23-year-old constable from the MW Makhubele police station in Giyani allegedly shot at his wife four times during a domestic tiff. She is a constable at the Letsitele police station near Tzaneen.
The police said the man could not be identified before his relatives had been told of his death.
He allegedly shot his wife in their home on Saturday evening.
Inspector Thomas Makhubele said she was shot in the chest while trying to flee from her husband.
He gave chase and shot her in the head.
"He thought the woman was dead and turned the gun on himself," Makhubele said.
He died instantly.
Police were called to the scene and found the two in a pool of blood.
Both were taken to the Nkensani Hospital, where doctors found the woman was still alive.
"She was transferred to the Mankweng Hospital in Polokwane, where she is in a critical condition," Makhubele said.
In the past six months three other police officers in Limpopo used their service pistols to kill their partners, as have two in Mpumalanga.