Royheem Delshawn Deeds (L) Officer Tim Smith (R). (Georgia Bureau of Investigation)
A manhunt is underway in central Georgia after a police officer was fatally shot as he was responding to a 911 call. Police say the suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous.
Eastman Patrol Officer Tim Smith, 31, was responding to a suspicious person call when he encountered alleged suspect, Royheem Delshawn Deeds. He was shot as he exited his patrol car, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigations spokesman Scott Dutton.
“Officer Smith exited his patrol car to investigate and was shot by the individual,” the bureau said in a statement. “Officer Smith returned gunfire and the individual fled the scene.” Smith was later taken to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
Smith’s death came just hours before another shooting involving a police officer in the suburban Atlanta city of Marietta. Officer Scott Davis was shot in the leg. Davis, a 10-year veteran, was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and is recovering after surgery. Two 15-year-old suspects were arrested after exchanging gunfire.
This incident is the latest in a string of fatal shootings of law enforcement officers across the country amid an outcry about the deaths of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police.
On July 5, Alton Sterling was fatally shot during a struggle with officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile was killed the following day by an officer in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Their deaths triggered revenge attacks against police by two black US military
veterans. Five officers were shot and killed in Dallas, Texas, on July 7 and three were ambushed and fatally shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 17.
Police killed over 1,150 people in 2015, with the largest police departments disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans, according to data compiled by an activist group that runs the Mapping Police Violence project.