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Cops shot in Americus, Georgia shooting were best friends

AMERICUS, Ga. -- The two police officers who were shot, one fatally, in Americus, Georgia Wednesday have been best friends since grade school, reports CBS affiliate WMAZ.

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Nicholas Smarr, 25, and Jody Smith, 26, both graduated from Americus-Sumter High School in 2009. Smarr was an Americus police officer and Smith an is officer at Georgia Southwestern State University, which is located in the same town. They both responded to a domestic violence call Wednesday morning, when police say they encountered Minquell Lembrick.

The suspect opened fire, killing Smarr and critically wounding Smith, who is fighting for life at a hospital in Macon, Georgia.

“It’s a tragedy beyond words,” Americus Police Chief Mark Scott said Wednesday. “One of our family members has been taken from  us.”

Smith is engaged and has planned to marry his fiance in May, WMAZ. His father is a former sheriff in Telfair County and his mother works in the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

A widespread manhunt is underway for Lembrick, with more than 20 law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, working to track down the gunman.  

Investigators in Georgia pleaded yesterday for Minquell Lembrick -- the man police say shot and killed one officer, and critically wounded another -– to surrender.

“Enough violence has occurred today. We want you call 911 and arrange to turn yourself in,” said Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. “Contact us to end this in a peaceful manner.” 

WMAZ reports the reward for information leading to Lembrick’s capture has increased to $70,000.

Anyone with information on Lembrick’s whereabouts is asked to call the Americus Police Department at 229-924-3677, 229-815-0070, or 229-815-0896.   

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