Friends in Life, Partners in Death

AMERICUS, Ga. – Nick Smarr and Jody Smith have been inseparable since high school, reported the Washington Post. They were classmates at the police academy in Georgia, and always quick to demonstrate their friendship.

They shared the same inside jokes and often compared work related productivity. Jody was to be married May 20, 2017. His best man would have been Nick.

Because of their bond, families were not surprised to learn that Wednesday morning, working together as cops, Nick and Jody were together.

Nick, an Americus Police officer, responded to a domestic violence incident at 9:30 a.m. near the Georgia Southwestern State University. Jody, a campus police officer, overheard the radio call and decided to back-up his best friend, even though other Americus officers were on the way, Police Chief Mark Scott said.

What happened next was captured on body camera footage, authorities said, and narrated in a Facebook post by Smarr’s uncle, Michael Waters, who confirmed the details with The Washington Post.

They arrived separately. Jody swept around the back of the apartment while Nick approached the slightly ajar front door, according to the online post. Nick heard commotion inside, called out and entered, where he found a suspect he “immediately recognized,” the post said, a man authorities identified as Minquell Lembrick. There was also a woman and child, the victims from the domestic call, police said.

The man fled out the back door, Waters wrote, and Smarr followed. The man shot at the officers, striking both in the head before leaving the property, authorities said.

After shooting at the man, Nick ran to Jody, according to the post, rolled him onto his back and performed CPR “until he could no longer.”

When additional officers arrived, they found the best friends, brothers in arms, wounded and laying in the backyard with Nick slumped over Jody

Officer Nick Smarr died soon after, authorities said, and Officer Jody Smith was airlifted to a Macon, Ga., hospital where, on Thursday, he passed away as well.

“Nick’s best friend is now in heaven with him,” a family member said on Facebook.

Of Nick’s decision to administer CPR, his girlfriend, Rachel Harrod, said: “Never been more proud to call someone mine.”

Chief Scott said the two men were “model officers” and “heroes.”

“I can’t say enough about them,” he said. “… They were there together, they were there together through it. And even after the shooting they were together.”

A daylong manhunt searching for Lembrick, the man accused of fatally shooting the officers, ended when police located him after receiving a tip. He was hiding in a house in Americus. Officers, including the SWAT team, responded. As they established their perimeter, Scott said they heard what sounded like a gunshot from inside. For an hour, negotiators tried to coax the suspect out, but eventually used a robot to open the door, where officers found Lembrick dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Lembrick was a “career criminal” with a rap sheet 32 pages long, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said at a news conference. At the time of the shooting, he was wanted for kidnapping and other charges, Scott told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

A reporter asked Keenan if Lembrick shouldn’t have been on the street. He replied, “I don’t pass judgments on the criminal justice system. I just know that he was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and he wreaked havoc on this community.”

Photo source Michael E Waters Facebook Page

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