Escort for slain Americus police officer Nick Smarr
As law enforcement officers swarm across Sumter County looking for a cop killer, the reward for his capture is growing.
GBI director Vernon Keenan made a televised plea for 32-year-old suspect Minguell Kennedy Lembrick to surrender in the death of Americus police officer Nicholas Smarr and the wounding of Georgia Southwestern campus police officer Jody Smith.
“Enough violence has occurred,” Keenan said to reporters gathered in Americus Wednesday night.
The reward for information leading to Lembrick’s arrest increased to $70,000 by early Thursday as the Sumter County Sheriff’s office and City of Americus each added $5,000 and the U.S. Marshals Service added $10,000 to the $20,000 originally offered by the GBI, which was supplemented by agencies in Peach, Crisp, Dooly and Chatham counties and the cities of Andersonville, Byron and Fort Valley.
The Peach County Sheriff’s Office warned the public on Facebook that Lambrick commited an armed robbery there in 2008 and could be in the area.
Keenan appealed to Lembrick to turn himself in.
“We want you to call 911 and arrange to turn yourself in,” he said. “Everyone’s safety is important. Contact us to end this in a peaceful manner.”
Officers from dozens of agencies are assisting local authorities in the manhunt.
“We want the violence to end,” Keenan spoke into the cameras. “Call 911 and arrange to turn yourself in and let’s end this matter.”
Early Thursday, Americus police and Georgia State troopers escorted Smarr’s body to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy as doctors work to save Smith, who remains at The Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon.
The medical examiner’s office plans to perform Smarr’s autopsy Thursday morning.
Smarr and Ryan answered a call about a domestic dispute at about 9:40 a.m. Wednesday at an apartment complex on South Lee Street in Americus.
The officers found Lembrick, who allegedly opened fire.
Nearby, the campus of Georgia Southwestern was locked down as the hunt began for the gunman.
Lembrick is considered to be a “very dangerous individual,” Keenan said in an earlier news conference.
A short time after the fatal shooting, a man believed to be Lembrick posted a short video on Facebook that was taken down later in the day.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the first name of Minguell Lembrick.