Crime

Alleged Eastman cop killer caught in sister’s trunk

GBI agent discusses investigation into Eastman policeman's death

Scott Whitley, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation talks about the investigation into the death of Eastman police officer Tim Smith.
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Scott Whitley, special agent in charge with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation talks about the investigation into the death of Eastman police officer Tim Smith.

The man wanted in the shooting of an Eastman police officer is now in custody.

Early Monday morning, the lookout was canceled for Royheem Delshawn Deeds, 24, who was identified as the suspected killer of Officer Tim Smith.

Scott Whitley, special agent in charge of the Eastman GBI office, said Deeds was arrested in a vehicle stop at about 1:30 a.m. Monday on U.S. 1 in Naussau County, Fla., near Hilliard.

The GBI and U.S. Marshals Service received a tip they shared with authorities in Florida.

Deeds reportedly was hiding in the trunk of his sister’s car when he was caught.

Officers also arrested his sister, Franshawn Deeds, 22, of Lumber City, and her boyfriend, Jamil Mitchell, 32, also of Lumber City.

All three are being held in the Nassau County Jail awaiting extradition back to Georgia.

Smith, 30, was shot after answering a call about 9:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a GBI release.

Whitley said Smith was answering a call about a man with a gun behaving suspiciously. Whitley said Smith exited his vehicle to speak with the man and shots were fired. Smith returned fire and the suspect fled.

Whitley said Smith was able to radio in that he had been shot.

Smith was taken to Dodge County Hospital, where he died.

Further details of Deeds’ arrest were not immediately available.

Telfair County Sheriff Chris Steverson posted news of Deeds’ arrest on the department’s Facebook page.

“He is well known in law enforcement circles,” Steverson said. “Our investigators and officers are familiar with him in connection with working other cases.”

Steverson said he sent all available officers to assist authorities in neighboring Dodge County where the shooting took place.

“It’s been tough and we’ll all have to pull together and support each other,” Steverson said.

At least $15,000 in reward money was offered in the case with the GBI offering a $10,000 and the U.S. Marshals service putting up $5,000, according to a post on the Telfair County Sheriff’s Facebook page.

Whitley declined to say how Deeds was identified as a suspect, but he said Deeds reportedly lived near the border of Dodge and Telfair counties.

A small motorcade carrying Smith’s body came through Macon on Interstate 16 and Interstate 75 about noon Sunday. Smith’s body was being taken to the GBI crime lab in Atlanta for an autopsy.

The shooting happened on the east side of the rail line that runs through the middle of town, not far from the Chic-King restaurant.

Smith had worked at the Eastman Police Department for five years. Whitley said he is survived by three children.

Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report. Telegraph writer Joe Kovac Jr. contributed to this report. Come back to macon.com for updates on this story and read Tuesday’s Telegraph.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported Officer Tim Smith's age.

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