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Arrest made in killing of 2 Ga. police officers

Two off-duty DeKalb County, Ga., police officers were shot to death at an apartment complex early Wednesday and a 33-year-old man was arrested, police said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A 32-year-old man was arrested and charged with murder in the deaths of two off-duty DeKalb County officers who were shot early Wednesday.

Authorities were still looking for other suspects, said Officer Jonathan Ware, a DeKalb County police spokesman.

DeKalb County Officers Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, and Eric Barker, 33, were working as security guards at the complex and investigating a suspicious person there when shots rang out, DeKalb County Police Chief Terrell Bolton said.

Ware said he did not have details on what led investigators to arrest Herbie Deshawn Durham hours later, other than "hard police work."

County officials had offered a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Ware could not say whether the reward offer had anything to do with Durham's arrest but said authorities had gotten cooperation from the public, including residents of the apartment complex.

It was not immediately clear whether Durham had an attorney.

Police had combed the area for two gunmen after the shooting at an apartment complex in what residents described as a high-crime neighborhood.

Two males reportedly were seen running away. Police used dogs and a helicopter to search for the suspects, and schools were locked down during the investigation in the area about 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta.

He told reporters the dead officers were wearing their police uniforms.

Bolton said the shooting looked like an ambush. "It just appeared that they were gunned down without a chance," he said.

'Must-solve crime,' police chief says
At an afternoon news conference, Bolton called the shootings a "must-solve crime" and urged witnesses to come forward.

Bolton did not say whether the officers had a chance to return fire before they were killed and he did not say what led to the shooting.

A $30,000 reward was offered for information leading to arrests in the case, said DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones.

"These police officers were heroes, they were committed and dedicated to law enforcement," Jones said. "We will not rest until those folks responsible for this are apprehended and justice is served."

Patreka Anderson, a resident of the complex, said she was awakened by the gunshots but did not think anything of it because the neighborhood around the Glenwood Gardens apartment complex is a high-crime area with a lot of drug activity and prostitution.

"We always hear shooting," she said. "I didn't think that was any big deal."

Officers hired as guards in December
Teofil Taut, who said he has owned the 176-unit complex for about two years and lives in one of the buildings, said he hired police as part-time security officers in December to keep homeless people from breaking into the apartments.

Another resident, nurse's assistant LaShawn Corbin, said she is considering moving, even if it means paying more for an apartment.

"We don't expect the people who try to protect us to be hurt so seriously," she said. Corbin said she would fear leaving her children there "because the person who did it has no conscience for human life."

Bryant had worked for the department for two years, and Barker had worked there for four years. Each was married and had four children.

"It's a challenging day for us," Bolton said. "However, today's act of senseless violence is a display of what we're seeing around the country where people will shoot down a police officer without regard to any repercussions."