POLICE are investigating a suspected gang hit on a Bethelsdorp policeman, who was gunned down at his home on Monday night.
Senior detectives said Constable Mark Isaacs, 27, had been threatened by gangsters earlier in the day.
Isaacs, who was based at Bethelsdorp in Port Elizabeth, was shot in the face and throat only seconds after parking his vehicle in the garage at his parents' home in Bulrush Street, Arcadia.
In a development late yesterday police said they had identified possible suspects but had not yet arrested anyone.
Isaacs, who lived with his parents and sister, had arrived home at 10pm after visiting his girlfriend. Just hours before this assassination, a Western Cape policeman, stationed at the Gugulethu police station, was shot dead and robbed of his service pistol.
Senior detectives said yesterday they were not sure what the threats made to Isaacs had been about.
"But we know he had arrested several gangsters linked to drug-dealing in the area.
"It is possible he refused to assist the gangsters in terms of testifying and they saw him as a threat," one detective said.
Police are trying to determine if it was a drive-by shooting or the work of one gunman, although it appeared Isaacs had been shot at close range.
Isaacs's sister, Davidene, 29, said: "We are all devastated.
"He lived for the police and loved the work.
"I was in the car on the way home from work just after 10pm when a friend messaged me, asking if I had heard gunshots.
"As we approached the house, I saw the garage door standing open and someone lying on the ground."
Her mother, Catherine, 63, who had been asleep and was alerted to the shooting by a neighbour, was "hysterical" and jumped in front of the car.
"Only then did I see that it was Mark lying on the ground. He was unconscious but there was still a pulse."
Davidene said a neighbour had said a car had been parked across the road earlier in the evening and another said a man was seen running away.
Isaacs's brother, Ashwin, 37, said he arrived at the house minutes after the shooting.
"We are trying to piece the puzzle together. From how he was lying and the open gate, you can see he was shot at close range while closing the gate. He fell on his back in the driveway. It looks like the shooter was on foot, but no one knows."
Acting provincial commissioner Major-General Chris Ntantiso said: "Anybody who attacks or kills a police official will face the full might of the law.
"An attack on, or murder of, a police official is a threat to our constitutional democracy, which should not be taken lightly by anyone."
Police spokesman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said the investigation had been handed over to the organised crime division of the Hawks.
She said Isaacs had been described by his commander as a "dedicated crime-fighter who had a passion for making the community a safer place".
Security expert Dr Johan Burger said although assassinations of police officers were not common, there had been a number of similar incidents over the years, with the hits generally arranged by organised crime syndicates.