Police and Law Enforcement

Suspect accused of killing Georgia officer and wounding another is found dead, police chief says

Georgia Southwestern State University orders a lockdown

 

The gunman accused of killing a Georgia officer and leaving another in critical condition was found dead Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities announced.

Police hunting for the man had surrounded a home in Americus, about 130 miles south of Atlanta, Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said. After an hour of trying to negotiate with 32-year-old Minguell Kennedy Lembrick, a SWAT team breached the door of the home and found Lembrick dead.

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“The perpetrator of these heinous crimes against law enforcement is not here,” Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) Director Vernon Keenan said, adding that police and the community "can now go forward with healing."

Authorities said earlier in the day they had received a call from a citizen who knew Lembrick and saw him enter the home.

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Scott said no one else was inside the home and there was no indication anyone was trying to harbor Lembrick. The suspect had a criminal history record of 32 pages, Keenan said.

Keenan had made a direct plea to Lembrick on Wednesday night, urging him to call 911 and arrange to turn himself into authorities, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

The deadly shooting unfolded that morning when the two officers were responding to a domestic dispute in Americus, Scott said.

Americus police Officer Nicholas Smarr, 25, died and Georgia Southwestern State University Officer Jodi Smith was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, Scott said. Both had been officers since 2012.

"It's a tremendous loss to our family," Scott said of Smarr's death. "It's a tragedy beyond words. One of our family members has been taken from us."

Lembrick already had outstanding warrants for kidnapping and other charges related to a previous domestic incident, but the officers didn't know whom they were dealing with when they responded to the 911 call, Scott told reporters.

Shortly after the shootings Wednesday, a message posted on Lembrick's Facebook page read: "other life gone not going to jail."

Also posted to Lembrick's account was a four-second Facebook Live video showing a young man partly concealed by shadows saying, "I'm gonna miss y'all folk, man." The final message on Lembrick's page read: "Love yall."

All three posts had Facebook timestamps between 10:13 a.m. and 10:41 a.m. The video was removed a few hours after it was posted.

GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles confirmed to The Associated Press that the Facebook page belonged to Lembrick.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.