The suspect was arrested on Sunday at his parents’ home in Algoa Park, Port Elizabeth, by the Hawks’ serious organised crime investigation unit following a manhunt.
His arrest came a day after the funeral of Constable Dwane Kemp, 31, who died last Monday following a shootout between police and five armed robbers.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said members of the Port Elizabeth flying squad responded to a complaint of an armed robbery in progress at a bakery on the corner of Parliament and Rose streets.
“When police arrived at the scene shots were fired and officers returned fire. Four of the suspects who were in the shop were shot dead during the exchange of gunfire. The fifth suspect managed to escape,” he said.
Three firearms were recovered at the scene and have been sent for ballistic testing to establish if they have been used in other crimes.
Mulaudzi said the suspect is expected to appear in court on Tuesday on charges of murder, attempted murder, business robbery, possession of a firearm without a licence and possession of ammunition without a licence to possess a firearm capable of discharging such ammunition.
The national head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya hailed the arrest as a significant breakthrough in the fight against police killings.
During Kemp’s funeral on Saturday, Police Minister Bheki Cele called on police officers to use the “tools” given to them responsibly and decisively when executing their duties and to do so within the ambit of the law.