A MAN who had been holding his girlfriend hostage in a house in Soweto committed suicide.

Cops said he shot himself when they entered the house in Tladi by force, spokesperson for the Soweto West cluster Mbulaheni Netshivhodza said.

He had barricaded himself and the woman behind sofas, an ironing board, and other household appliances.

The woman was taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital with a “graze wound” to the head, said Major General Fred Kekana. The woman was conscious when police rescued her.

Netshivhodza said a case of attempted murder would be opened and there would be an inquest into his death.

The 37-year-old man earlier demanded that police withdraw a case of malicious damage to property against him. Police had been negotiating with him since this morning.

He had locked himself and the woman inside the four-roomed house and warned the police negotiating team that he would shoot himself and his girlfriend if his demands were not met. He spoke to the team regularly through a locked burglar door.

Neighbours said they heard the woman screaming and shouting for help around 8am. Soon after, they heard three gunshots. When police arrived, the man refused to open the door and told them his demands.

The crowd gathered outside appeared visibly shaken. People jumped in fright when one of the police vans leaving the scene drove over a plastic bag, causing it to pop.