A police officer was fatally shot and another was wounded Wednesday at an apartment complex in southwest Georgia, prompting a hunt for a suspect and causing nearby Georgia Southwestern State University to tell students to take shelter for most of the day.
Americus police Officer Nicholas Ryan Smarr, 25, was killed while answering a call about a domestic dispute at the complex, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
The other officer, Jody Smith, works for the university. He was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon, authorities said.
The GBI identified the suspect as Minquell Kennedy Lembrick, though a search of public records shows variants of his first name. Lembrick is still at large Thursday, the GBI said.
A $50,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to Lembrick’s arrest, the agency said.
Georgia Southwestern State, with about 3,000 students, told its campus community to shelter in place Wednesday because of the shooting.
“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,” a notice on the university’s website said.
The university said on Twitter just before 5 p.m. that the suspect was still at large but officers were sweeping campus buildings and people could leave after they were cleared.
Later the university thanked students for their patience and said it had ordered pizza for those in dorms.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 63 law enforcement officers in the United States were fatally shot while on duty in 2016. That statistic is 66% higher than last year’s total through December 7.
Americus is some 138 miles south of Atlanta and is near Plains, the birthplace of former President Jimmy Carter. It is the county seat of Sumter County, which has about 31,000 residents.