GBI urges Americus shooting suspect to turn himself in

Published: Dec. 7, 2016 at 3:22 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 8, 2016 at 4:59 AM EST
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Officer Jody Smith (left) Officer Nicholas Smarr (right) (Source: Facbook)
Officer Jody Smith (left) Officer Nicholas Smarr (right) (Source: Facbook)
The area near the shooting in Americus (Source: WALB)
The area near the shooting in Americus (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) - In a press conference Wednesday night, the GBI spoke out to the suspect they believe shot two officers, killing one and injuring the other.

Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said that Officer Nicholas Smarr was killed, and Smith, who is a Georgia Southwestern State University safety officer, was taken to Macon, in critical condition after a shooting in Americus Wednesday morning.

The Sumter County Sheriff's Office chaplain announced at a vigil Wednesday night that Officer Jody Smith has made it through surgery in Macon after he was shot Wednesday morning, his condition at this time is unknown.

A manhunt is underway for Minquell Lembrick, 32, who officials believe shot the two law enforcement officers, and more than 20 agencies are involved.

About the suspect

Albany Police said Lembrick, used to live in Albany, and law enforcement in the area was told to be alert to the situation.

Lembrick is considered armed and dangerous.

There is a reward for information leading to his arrest.

The original reward was $20,000. According to officials, the Peach County Sheriff's Office, Byron Police Department, and Fort Valley Police Department contributed an additional $10,000 making the total reward being offered $30,000 for information leading to his arrest.

Officials described him as 6'02", approximately 195 lbs with brown eyes and black hair. Anyone who may have seen him or has any information on his whereabouts should call the Americus Police Department Dispatch at (229) 924-3677..

Just after Wednesday's shooting, Lembrick posted a short Facebook live video, his page has since been shut down.

About Officer Nicholas Smarr

According to Albany Police, Smarr began working at the Americus Police Department in September of 2015.

He was certified as a law enforcement officer in 2012.

Smarr had worked at the Telfair County Sheriff's Office, Sumter County Sheriff's Office and the Vienna Police Department before coming to Americus.

"It's a tremendous loss to our family, It's been many, many years since we've had an officer fall in the line of duty here in Americus although our neighbors in Peach County just experienced the same thing. So, it's a tragedy beyond words," said Americus Police Chief Mark Scott.

How the events unfolded

The Georgia Southwestern State University Emergency Notification Service went into action, sending a warning about a campus lockdown, because of an off-campus shooting.

The shooting took place off campus near the south side of the Griffin Bell Golf Course.

GSW's Facebook page reported that two police officers were injured: One GSW Public Safety officer, and one local law enforcement officer.

Americus Police responded to a domestic dispute call around 9:30 Wednesday morning, according to the Police Chief Mark Scott.

"One of our officers responded, along with an officer from Georgia Southwestern who heard the call responded as a backup. The officer encountered a suspect outside an apartment where both officers were shot," said Chief Scott.

"The Americus officer died, while the GSW officer was flown to Macon in critical condition."

Lembrick was wanted from an earlier incident, but officers did not know that he was in the area at the time, Scott said.

Officials in Americus held a press conference Wednesday afternoon offering the reward for the arrest of Lembrick.

Deepest condolences

Sanford Bishop released a statement Wednesday afternoon about the tragic incident:

This morning in Americus, two law enforcement officers were shot by a gunman near Georgia Southwestern University, which was put on lockdown. One of these officers did not survive his wounds, while the other remains in critical condition. The gunman has been identified and multiple law enforcement agencies are coordinating in an effort to find him and bring him into custody.

We must never forget the sacrifices of our first responders and their families. My condolences go out to the families of the officers, and I pray for the full recovery of the injured. I also pray for a swift resolution to this manhunt, and I have full confidence in the law enforcement agencies searching for the shooter.

The University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby also released a statement expressing their condolences and concern for those involved:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the officers, their families and the Georgia Southwestern State University and Americus communities. We are deeply saddened by this tragic attack on our law enforcement officers. They have dedicated their lives to protecting our students, faculty, staff and the citizens of Americus. We are heartbroken and on behalf of our colleges and universities send our prayers and support to Georgia Southwestern and the Americus community.

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