A second man was arrested in the apparent ambush slaying of two officers at a crime-ridden apartment complex, and police were searching for at least one more suspect, authorities said Thursday.
Deanthius Jamal Johnson, 28, of Decatur, was taken to the DeKalb County jail and charged with two counts of murder, county Police Chief Terrell Bolton said. Herbie Deshawn Durham, 32, was charged with two counts of murder Wednesday night after a massive search that involved SWAT teams, police dogs and a helicopter.
Bolton made another appeal to the public Thursday for information about the officers’ slayings, and issued a warning to those still at large.
“We’re gonna track you down, make sure that we find you and get you off the street as soon as possible,” he said.
They were moonlighting as security guards
Officers Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, and Eric Barker, 33, were moonlighting as security guards at the complex and investigating a suspicious person when they were gunned down, police said.
“They never had a chance,” Bolton said.
One witness told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the officers appeared to be frisking someone right before the shooting early Wednesday.
Derrick Murchison, 38, told the newspaper he looked out his window into a parking lot and saw that both officers had pulled up in their personal vehicles.
“They had asked the dude for his license. ... I looked out and he was on the hood like this,” he said, demonstrating that the man was standing with his hands on top of the car.
Murchison said he went back to playing a video game, but then his girlfriend heard shots and he pushed her away from the window.
One officer died at the scene; the other was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Witnesses reported seeing two males running from the scene, police said.
Officer Jonathan Ware did not have details on what led to Durham’s arrest, other than “hard police work.” He said authorities had received cooperation from the public, including residents of the apartment complex, but could not say whether a $60,000 reward had led to the arrest.
It was not immediately known who was representing the suspects.
Both slain officers were married fathers of four and were wearing their uniforms when they were shot.
Residents say drugs, prostitution and gunfire are common at the Glenwood Gardens apartments, located in this suburb 6 miles east of downtown Atlanta.
Teofil Taut, who said he has owned the 176-unit complex for about two years and lives in one of the buildings, explained that he hired the officers as part-time security in December to prevent break-ins.