One officer dead, one critical in Americus, Georgia shooting; manhunt for suspect underway
AMERICUS, Ga. (WGXA) -- Two officers were shot, one fatally, in an incident in Americus Wednesday morning.
In a press conference at about 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said that one Americus police officer was killed and a Georgia Southwestern State University campus officer was injured.
Scott said the Americus Police Department received the call of a domestic dispute at an apartment complex near Georgia Southwestern at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. He said the Americus officer responded and the Georgia Southwestern campus officer went to the scene as backup.
He said the two officers were shot by the suspect, later identified as Minquell Kenney Lembrick, 32.
The Americus police officer died and the Georgia Southwestern officer was life-flighted to a Macon hospital.
At a press conference at about 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Scott identified the Americus police officer who was killed as Nicholas Ryan Smarr, 25. The Georgia Southwestern Officer was identified as Jody Smith. Scott said that Smith was still listed in critical condition.
About an hour after the shooting, a Facebook account with the name "Minguell Gstreet Lembrick" went live for four seconds. A man in the video was seen saying "I'm gonna miss y'all folks, man." The video was viewed about 20,000 times before it, along with the account, was removed. Scott would not comment on the video in his press conference.
Scott said Lembrick was still at large as of 4 p.m.
The campus of Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus placed an emergency alert on their website immediately after the shooting stating that the campus was on lockdown due to a shooting "off campus near the south side of the Griffin Bell Golf Course."
"Please secure all doors and windows (any additional actions such as shut down HVAC, turn off lights, move to unobservable part of the room, get on the floor, away from doors) and await further instructions or contact by first responders," the alert read.
The campus remained under lockdown into Wednesday evening.
In his 1:15 p.m. press conference, Scott asked for anyone with information about Lembrick's whereabouts to notify authorities immediately.
An official with the GBI said at the 4 p.m. press conference that the GBI and FBI are offering a $20,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to Lembrick's arrest.
The Peach County Sheriff’s Office, Byron Police Department, and Fort Valley Police Department contributed an additional $10,000, bringing the total reward to $30,000.
Thursday morning, the reward was increased to $70,000.
During his 4 p.m. press conference, Scott said Lembrick was previously known to law enforcement and had an arrest warrant out for kidnapping at the time of the shooting.
Around 8:20 p.m. Vernon M. Keenan, Director of the GBI, held another press conference with a brief message for Lembrick.
"Enough violence has occurred today," Keenan said. "We want you to call 911 and arrange to turn yourself in. Everyone's safety is important. Contact us and end this in a peaceful manner. We want the violence to end today. Call 911 and arrange to turn yourself in and let's end this matter."
According to Phyllis Banks of the Albany Police Department, Smarr had been with the Americus Police Department since September of 2015 and has been a certified law enforcement officer since 2012. Banks said he previously worked for the Telfair County Sheriff's Office, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the Vienna Police Department.