Pretoria – Three men have been fatally wounded during a shootout with the police just after the Diamond Toll Plaza on the N4 route in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

The Silverton Flying Squad members had spotted a suspicious-looking vehicle at around 01h45 and stopped it. When the police approached the vehicle which had five occupants they were greeted with a hail of bullets, which left Constable Max Lekalakala (32) fatally wounded.

The police retaliated, killing two suspects instantly. Another suspect was certified dead upon arrival at the hospital. Two more suspects were arrested, one of them was critically wounded and is under police guard at hospital.

Three unlicensed firearms with ammunition, seven cellphones and an Ipad were found in the possession of suspects.

One suspect will appear before the Bronkhortspruit Magistrate’s Court on Friday, facing charges of murder, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. Hawks investigations continue.