Suspect in Georgia officer’s shooting death commits suicide
The Georgia man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer who was responding to a domestic dispute near a university killed himself on Thursday inside a home where he had barricaded himself, officials said.
Americus Police Chief Mark A. Scott told a news conference that the suspect, Minquell Lembrick, appeared to have taken his own life after law enforcement received a tip about his location from an unidentified citizen who knew him.
Officers outside the residence heard one shot at about 10 a.m. local time, Scott said, and they called in FBI hostage negotiators to try to contact anyone inside, without success. Police SWAT teams later sent in a robot they used to locate the suspect’s body, which had suffered a gunshot wound.
A second officer was badly wounded in Wednesday’s shooting, and a $50,000 reward had been offered for Lembrick’s arrest.
Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, described Lembrick, 32, as a “career criminal” and told reporters he had a criminal record that was more than 32 pages long.
“We’ve got one officer killed in the line of duty and the other is fighting for his life as we speak,” Keenan said. “But the perpetrator of these heinous crimes against law enforcement is not here.”
Officer Ryan Smarr, 25, of the Americus Police Department died of his wounds on Wednesday, police said. Southwestern Georgia State University Officer Jody Smith remains in critical condition at an area hospital.
Scott said both officers were close friends who went to high school together and later trained together in law enforcement.
“They’re both heroes in my opinion,” Scott said. “Our hearts go out to the families.”
It was not immediately clear whether the suspect used the same gun that was used in the police shooting to take his own life, the police chief said.
The investigation is ongoing and police are looking into whether or not anyone had been intentionally hiding Lembrick, Scott added.
Georgia Southwestern State University, which had been put on lockdown following Wednesday’s shooting, resumed normal operations on Thursday.
(Writing by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Scott Malone, Andrew Hay and Bernard Orr)