Georgia Bureau of Investigation(AMERICUS, Ga.) — The Georgia Southwestern State University police officer who was critically injured Wednesday while responding to a domestic dispute call has died from his injuries — one of two officers killed in the incident, the university announced.
“We have just received word that GSW Public Safety Officer Jody Smith has succumbed to his injuries and has passed away,” said Georgia Southwestern State University Interim President Charles Patterson. “We offer our deepest condolences to his family during this very difficult time. Officer Smith was a bright, young and energetic officer, and he will be sorely missed.”
Americus Police Officer Nicholas Ryan Smarr, 25, also was killed in the incident.
“It’s a tragedy beyond words,” Americus Police Department Chief Mark Scott said of the shooting. “It’s one of our family members [who] has been taken from us.”
Smith had been with the Georgia Southwestern State University Police Department since August, the university said. In a statement, the university commended Smith for showing “extreme bravery in the line of duty as he responded to a call for backup.”
Smith was enthusiastic about joining the department since it offered him an opportunity to pursue a college degree while working in law enforcement, according to the university.
The man who allegedly shot the two police officers in Georgia is now dead, police said.
After a manhunt that lasted more than 24 hours, police said they received a tip Thursday morning that the suspect, identified as 32-year-old Minquell Kennedy Lembrick, was inside a residence on Allen Street in the city of Americus.
Officers heard a gunshot while setting up a security perimeter around the home before attempting to enter. They opened the house door with a robot and found Lembrick inside, dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police.
Scott said the tip came from someone who was near the property where the suspect was found. Lembrick’s precise location after the shooting and up until he was found dead remains unknown, Scott said.
“The caller actually knew the gentleman and was there when he came to the house,” the police chief told reporters at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Investigators said Lembrick was wanted in connection to a shooting that happened Wednesday morning around 9:40 a.m. local time at an apartment complex in Americus, near the Georgia Southwestern State University campus.
Officers Smarr and Smith were simultaneously responding to a 911 call regarding a domestic dispute at the complex on South Lee Street when they encountered the suspect and shots were fired, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
Scott said the slain officer was wearing a police body camera during the shooting, but the footage will not be released at this time.
The two officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, but it’s unknown whether Lembrick was also struck. The man remained at large and was considered to be armed and dangerous until Thursday afternoon when authorities confirmed his death.
Prior to Wednesday’s domestic dispute call, police said Lembrick was wanted on kidnapping charges and others from a previous domestic incident.
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