Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the man, Sean Ferris, stabbed Brevet Sergeant Ian Todd, 53, and Brevet Sergeant Jordan Allely, 32, multiple times before he was shot dead.
The officers were attending Ferris’s home on Symons Street in Crystal Brook, about 200km north of Adelaide, about 10.15am today when they were attacked.
Stevens said Todd, who was the officer in charge in nearby Port Germein, suffered “life-threatening, critical injuries” after being stabbed the neck, arm and hands.
Todd was airlifted to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
Allely, the officer in charge in Crystal Brook, suffered stab wounds to his right leg and arm.
He was taken to Port Pirie Hospital to be airlifted to Royal Adelaide Hospital in a serious but stable condition.
It is understood the officers were wearing stab-proof vests and body cameras.
Neville Mercer told 9News Ferris was a kind friend.
“He was well known in the Brook for the short time he was here, which was probably only five or six years,” he said.
But other residents of the town have told of increasingly strange and menacing behaviour.
There are multiple reports of him confronting strangers with a walking stick, and also threatening to unleash his husky dog, Buddy.
Stevens said the officers were following up in relation to a disturbance at a local supermarket yesterday.
He would ”not elaborate on the specifics” of the incident which led to the call-out.
Stevens said the incident was “very traumatic” for those involved, including a neighbour, who was the first on the scene.
“He took it upon himself after potentially hearing gunshots to help, I can’t convey how grateful (we are),” he said.
“The officers who were first on scene are doing an excellent job and they are maintaining perspective.
“The sad reality is that police officers are injured quite frequently while on duty and we’re very hopeful that both of these police officers come through the injuries they have received.
“Our position as police officers who attend work have every right to expect to go home safe at the end of their shift.”
A coronial inquiry will be undertaken into the man’s death and the stabbing of the officers, Stevens said.
SA Police Association president and chief executive Mark Carroll earlier said one officer was in “a very bad way” after the attack.
“It’s a tragedy for everybody,” Carroll said.
“We are very concerned for our members and the serious injuries they have received today.”
Carroll said the association was providing support to the officers and their families.
“This is a horrifying reminder of the levels of extreme violence frontline police officers face in the line of duty,” he said.
Premier Peter Malinauskas said he had been briefed on the incident by the police commissioner.
“My thoughts are with the two injured officers and their families,” he said.
“Our police put their lives on the line every day to keeping us safe, for that we are forever grateful.”
Major Crime detectives, forensic teams and the Internal Investigation Section remain at the scene of the incident.