January 16th, 2008 08:32 PM
2 officers ambushed in GA
60K reward offered in murder of two DeKalb officers
Hunt for killers of Ricky Bryant Jr. and Eric Barker continues downtown
By MIKE MORRIS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/16/08
DeKalb County police identified two police officers shot and killed Wednesday morning as Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, and Eric Barker, 33. Both are married with four children.
Barker had been with the force for four years, Bryant for two. They were killed while responding to a suspicious person report at the Glenwood Gardens apartments at 4371 Glenwood Road in southwest DeKalb.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Atlanta police were questioning a person downtown at the precinct near Five Points about the fatal shooting of the two officers, Atlanta Police Officer Ronald Campbell confirmed.
"We're talking to someone to see if they have information," Campbell said.
Earlier, Atlanta police closed down a small outdoor mall near the Five Points MARTA station after getting a tip that suspects in the shooting were in the area. The mall contains a hodgepodge of independent merchants.
Campbell declined to say if the person they are holding is a suspect or someone who has information.
At an afternoon news conference, authorities offered $60,000 for information leading to an arrest. The FBI, pledged $20,000; Bishop Eddie L. Long, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, pledged $10,000; the U.S. Marshal's Office pledged $10,000; Michael Baisden, Radio Talkshow Host, pledged $5,000; Atlanta Crime Stoppers pledged $5,000; and, the DeKalb Police Alliance pledged $5,000. It is unclear where the other $5,000 is coming from.
DeKalb police Chief Terrell Bolton described the shootings as a "must-solve crime that has to be solved swiftly."
He said the families of the slain officers were informed earlier in the day. "Hearing the scream of the widows was a sound you never want to hear," Bolton said.
Bolton would not address how the investigation is going, other than to say the search continues. He wouldn't reveal how many suspects police were looking for or provide any kind of description.
'Struck down by evil'
The slain officers were off duty at the time of the shootings, Bolton said. One of the officers died at the scene. The other died en route to a hospital.
Bryant and Barker showed "a lot of promise, but were struck down by evil," Bolton said.
They were working security detail at the apartment complex at the time of the shooting, Bolton said. They were in uniform at the time but driving personal vehicles, according to the chief.
Teofil Taut, who owns the apartment complex, said he hired the officers about two months ago after encountering problems with homeless people breaking into vacant units. About half of the 176 units are occupied, Taut said.
Shortly before noon, dozens of DeKalb County police officers flooded neighborhoods along Snapfinger Road, about a quarter-mile from where the officers were shot.
Close to 100 DeKalb County officers and recruits are part of the search team. They have been joined by about 30 state troopers, including a Georgia State Patrol SWAT team, spokesman Larry Schnall at the news conference.
As the manhunt continued, nearby schools took extra precautions and motorists were advised to avoid the area:
Several DeKalb County schools remained under lockdown. Snapfinger Elementary, Columbia High and Towers High all have had school police officers on campus since 5 a.m. Officials said classes are still being held but extra security personnel are monitoring all exterior doors.
Atherton and Glenhaven elementary schools are also being monitored, since they are the next closest schools to the incident. System officials said the lockdown will remain in effect until county police officials give an all-clear. Police advised commuters to avoid the area as the search continues. Several blocks of Glenwood just inside I-285 were shut down with dozens of police cars blocking access to Glenwood from side streets and parking lots. A police helicopter continued to circle overhead.
'Like my sons'
"What a horrible, horrible way to end your life," Bolton said of Bryant and Barker. "Apparently, they had no chance, for it appeared they were ambushed.
"... We're hurting right now ... it hurts at the heart," Bolton said. "But we'll get through this. We'll deal with it and we'll apprehend them."
Bolton said the officers were "like my sons."
"The best thing we can do to preserve the memory of these officers who lost those lives is to bring these people to justice," Bolton said.
Wednesday's shootings marked the first time two metro Atlanta officers were killed in the same incident since July 23, 1999, when two Cobb SWAT officers were killed by shotgun in a raid on an Austell-area house.
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January 16th, 2008 11:03 PM
January 16th, 2008 11:09 PM
I'd like to hear the details of the shootings. As a retired LEO who worked many hours off-duty like these guys, I wonder what the actual events were. If you're hired to guard a high-crime area, you'd better be on your toes!
January 17th, 2008 12:12 AM
My heart aches for the families of these two officers. As if it wasn't enough that the families of LEO's have to deal with mostly being underpaid and knowing that their loved ones life is on the line daily, some dirtbag ambushes two of them.
Maybe the wives of these fallen heroes can be allowed to hand out the justice to this scum.
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"Not only do the people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us deserve better, we all deserve better than to have our own security undermined by those who undermine law enforcement." -Thomas Sowell
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