Cop Killings Trigger Manhunt, Lockdowns

Schools locked down as Ga. authorities hunt for suspects in two fatal shootings.

ByABC News
January 16, 2008, 11:16 AM

Jan. 16, 2008 — -- A manhunt is under way in Georgia after a pair of off-duty police officers were shot and killed while moonlighting as security guards at an apartment complex.

Six nearby schools are in a lockdown status, a spokesman for the DeKalb County School District confirmed to ABC News, as authorities comb the area for at least two men wanted in connection with the early morning killings.

"We're going to shake every apartment, every tree in this area until we find them," DeKalb County Police Chief Terrell Bolton said at a morning news conference. Bolton pledged to track down the pair, described for now only as black males who fled on foot, in what is calling a "must-solve" case.

"If I were you, I'd turn myself in," Bolton said. "Before sundown, we're going to find them," he vowed.

Around 1 p.m. today, Bolton identified the two officers as Ricky Bryant Jr., 26, and Eric Barker, 33. Each officer was married with four children. Barker had served on the DeKalb police force for four years, while Bryant was a two-year veteran of the department.

Bolton also announced a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for the fatal shooting, which has been described as an "ambush." Local televangelist Eddie Long, the DeKalb Police Foundation and the Atlanta Police Foundation each offered funds toward the reward.

Bolton said the two off-duty officers were both wearing police uniforms and apparently had approached a suspicious person at the complex when shots were fired.

A tow-truck driver in the area called police shortly before 1 a.m. to report hearing gunshots.

When they arrived at the scene, police found the two officers. One was already dead and the other was declared dead after being transported to a hospital.

"What a horrible, horrible way to lose your life," Bolton said, describing the two officers as "ambush" victims. "Apparently they had no chance."

Police continued to meet with and console the officers' family members and loved ones, as Bolton pledged relentless attention to the case.

"They know who they are, they know we're hunting them down, they know we're going to catch them," Bolton said of the wanted pair.

Patreka Anderson, a resident of the complex, said she was awakened by the gunshots but did not think anything of it becausethe 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," Anderson told The Associated Press.

Asked about the reputation of the apartment complex being a dangerous place, Bolton said that people have to live there and that the dead officers were simply doing their jobs.

"Our officers were fighting a valiant fight, they just ambushed us," Bolton said.