“Local News’

Friday December 9th, 2016


Wednesday’s tragic shooting of 2 officers responding to a domestic situation came full circle yesterday afternoon with the passing of the shooter and his second victim, Officer Jody Smith. Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr died following Wednesday’s shooting then after an intensive manhunt involving 300 law enforcement from all over South Georgia, the shooter, 32-year old Minquel Lembrick took his own life before being taken into custody. A tip had led law enforcement to Lembrick’s location to a residence in the 300 block of Allen Street. Hours after the shooter died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Officer Jody Smith passed away from his injuries after being shot. The person who gave the tip of the shooter’s whereabouts will be eligible for the $70,000 reward that had been offered. $20,000 additional reward money was donated early yesterday morning from nearby agencies that raised that total to $70,000. Closure has come in the case but not for the families, the community and their law enforcement families. As stated in yesterday’s final press conference by Americus Chief of Police Mark Scott, both of these officers are heroes and died as heroes by coming to the aid of a domestic victim. The GBI is now fully in charge of this investigation.

The Sumter County BOE held their monthly meeting last night. The big item voted on came after a 59-minute closed session. The Board voted to rescind a resolution purchasing land from the PDA at $3850 an acre for the new high school site across from South Georgia Technical College. This passed unanimously. A resolution was then made to purchase property from the PDA at $3875 per acre for the same site. There had been an error in the wording of the original document it appears. This new resolution passed 6-1. In other Board action from last night, the financial report, accounts payables and preliminary cash flow report were all approved. Workers compensation insurance renewal was then approved. Re-bidding of computers for the technology department passed unanimously. An agreement between Angelo State University and the SCS for counseling practice was accepted. A discussion of the Ombudsman program followed and a decision of possibly stopping the contract at the end of the term will come up for a vote in January. Under personnel, the Board accepted 4 resignations; hired 5; approved 2 family medical leave adjustments; and hired 1 long-term substitute. 2 salary adjustments were also approved. The meeting then adjourned.

The state championship banner for the Lady Panthers will be raised tonight at the South Campus Panther Den during the game with Crisp County. The game starts at 6 but with a large crowd expected to attend, you need to get there early!

Tomorrow, 2 area teams will be trying to bring home a state title of their own in GRPA football games. The Sumter 8 and Under team plays host Calhoun in Calhoun for that state title at 9 tomorrow morning. The Schley County 9 & 10 year old team plays Pierce County tomorrow morning at 11 in Savannah for that title. Good luck to these players and coaches tomorrow!

Sumter on Ice will have a ribbon cutting at 4 this afternoon in Rylander Park and then ice skating will be available till 9 tonight. Admission to Sumter on Ice is $5 and that includes your skate rentals. Sumter on Ice is from today through Friday December 30th. You will be able to skate on Saturday’s from 10am until 9pm; Sundays from 1-6; Mondays will be for group sales only; and then Tuesday-Friday from 4-9pm. Ice skate with family and friends during the holidays in Rylander Park downtown.

Things were “near” normal this morning for the Americus Police Department after losing one of their own this week in the line of duty. It was good to hear them talking and discussing the assistance they’ve received from their fellow law enforcement since Wednesday. It was rather quiet on Thursday. Richard Charles Pitts was arrested for shoplifting and possession and use of a drug-related object for an incident at 1101 Crawford Street.

Battery complaints were made at 411 Crawley Street and 1300 Douglas Circle, both from domestic incidents.

There were 2 accidents yesterday in the City with 1 being deer-related.

Nightshift did make a plea to business owners that still have sprinklers running overnight to make sure they don’t get in the roadway or sidewalks, especially with the temperatures dropping to the mid-20s tonight or there could be an icy mess tomorrow morning.