South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed sadness over the death of Nathaniel Julius, a teenager with Down syndrome, during a police operation.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and neighbours of Nathaniel who has, as a 16-year-old, been deprived of a future and whose tragic death has given rise to anger and unrest in a community that deserves better," Ramaphosa said.
The president announced an independent investigation into "the culpability or otherwise of any member or members of the South African Police Service" during the incident on Wednesday night.
Relatives of the child blame police for his death, saying he was standing outside his home eating biscuits when he was shot because he was unable to communicate properly, local media reported.
However, police told local media they are unsure who pulled the trigger, claiming Julius was caught in cross fire in a shoot-out between police and gang members in the Eldorado Park neighbourhood of Johannesburg.
On Thursday, violent clashes broke out between residents protesting the death and police, who fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
The shooting has caught the attention of US musician and sister of Beyonce, Solange Knowles, who included the South African teen's name in a tweet that also referenced Breonna Taylor, an African-American victim of police violence in the US.
"Rest in peace young Nathaniel Julius. Happy Birthday beautiful Toyin. We are still fighting for you Breonna. There's such a limit to these words, but we will never forget you. What is justice with all of this loss & pain," she wrote.