Georgia officer died while trying to save fellow officer, best friend

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Officer Nicholas Smarr, left, died Wednesday while giving CPR to his best friend, Georgia Officer Jody Smith, right, after both men were shot in the head. (Photo: Americus Police Department, Georgia Southwestern State University)

Two officers in Georgia, best friends since high school, died this week in the line of duty.

Americus Police Officer Nicholas Smarr responded to a domestic dispute call Wednesday morning, according to police. Hearing radio chatter, and wanting to help his friend, Georgia Southwestern State University Officer Jody Smith arrived on the scene even though other officers were en route.

“I’ve never met two men who loved each other like they did,” Smarr’s girlfriend, Rachel Harrod told the Washinton Post.

They went to the police academy together, they lived together, they would compete over who was the better cop. Smarr was going to be Smith’s best man at his wedding next year.

On Wednesday morning, Smarr answered the domestic call. Hearing a commotion, he announced himself and entered an apartment where he found Minquell Lembrick with a woman and a young girl.

Police say Lembrick fled out the back door, firing on Smarr and Smith, who arrived at the scene a short time after Smarr. A body camera was rolling as Smarr shot back at Lembrick. But by the end of it, both officers had been shot in the head.

Lembrick fled the scene, and Smarr, in his final moments, flipped over his best friend and performed CPR on him until he no longer could.

“When other officers arrived at the scene, Nick Smarr was lying across his fallen comrade and best friend where he had succumbed to his injuries,” wrote Smarr’s uncle in a Facebook post.

Smith was airlifted to the hospital with critical injuries, and police launched a manhunt for Lembrick, a 32-year-old “career criminal” with a 32-page rap sheet.

On Thursday, after a daylong search, police surrounded a home in Americus on a tip Lembrick was inside. Police say he posted to Facebook about how he didn’t plan on being captured alive, saying in one video, “I’m gonna miss y’all folks, man.” Eventually, police entered the home and found Lembrick with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A few hours later, police confirmed that Smith had died at the hospital.

Americus Police Chief Mark Scott called the men “model officers” and “heroes.”

Friends and family say the final actions of both men – Smith showing up to back up his friend, Smarr administering CPR as he took his final breaths — are no surprise.

“Never been more proud to call someone mine,” said Harrod.