A police officer was shot and killed in the early hours of Friday, allegedly by his colleague, in an apparent accidental shooting. The officers were in pursuit of suspects thought to be involved in truck hijackings when the shooting occurred. Free State police said Simon Nkala, 41, of the Parys crime prevention unit was shot at about 02:15 on Friday morning. According to Free State police spokesperson Brigadier M Makhele, three officers from the unit were patrolling the N1 and R59 routes as part of a routine operation when they spotted a "suspicious" white Condor with Gauteng registration numbers on the side of the R59. When they approached the vehicle, the driver initially told them that he had pulled over due to a mechanical problem. But after "some interrogation", the man said that he and three other suspects were targeting trucks transporting tyres. Makhele said the man was arrested immediately while police waited for his accomplices to return.ALSO WATCH | Wife, colleagues pay tribute to metro cop killed by taxi"They came back with one of them rolling a truck tyre. On arrival, one of the three suspects approached the condor with the intention of checking if their colleague was still there. He was instructed by the police to lie down, but one of the suspects started attacking a police official with an iron rod and the other two suspects started fleeing," said Makhele. The officer who had been attacked then fired at the fleeing suspects with an R5 rifle, he said. The officers later discovered that Nkala had been shot in both thighs. He later died in a Sasolburg hospital, according to Makhele. Two suspects were arrested and charged with possession of suspected stolen property, he said. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating Nkala's death.Acting Free State provincial police commissioner Major General Solly Lesia said: "We want to convey our deepest condolences to the family of Constable Nkala, and we need to give space to IPID to continue with their investigations. Our team will work around the clock to detect the two remaining suspects who are still at large."