VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Law enforcers launched a coordinated search Wednesday afternoon after citizens reported seeing Eric Sheppard walking in the area of Ann St. and Williams St.
The search lasted for over an hour, but Sheppard was not located.
Around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, officers from the Valdosta Police Department swarmed around the home at 1103 Williams St. after receiving a tip from a citizen that Eric Sheppard may have been hiding out there or somewhere close by.
After several minutes of searching, officers sped off to the intersection of Slater St. and Force St., just around the corner, where another citizen reported seeing someone matching Sheppard's description while police were searching along Williams St.
"At this point, there's no information to indicate he was here. Doesn't mean he wasn't, just means we can't find him right now," said Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress, about an hour into the search.
Eventually, officers set up a 3 block perimeter around the area and went house by house with a Lowndes County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit in an attempt to locate Sheppard.
Many students stood on their front porches, trying to figure out what was going on. "I got here and there was dogs and cops all up under our house and it just really freaked me out. Didn't know what was goin' on," said VSU senior Trae Bryant.
Chief Childress reassured students that every effort was being made to keep them safe, especially during a rally scheduled for Friday during which hundreds of people were expected to march around campus in support of the American flag.
"There will be an army of law enforcement during this event Friday," Chief Childress emphasized.
Despite these efforts, Bryant said students are on edge. "I was on campus today and everyone's whispering, watchin' over their shoulders thinkin' somethin's gonna happen," said Bryant.
Chief Childress added that the citizens who called in the tips Wednesday did the right thing and he was asking anyone who thinks they see Eric Sheppard to call 911.
Eric sheppard was, as of Wednesday evening, still considered armed and dangerous.