Ga. Officer Gunned Down, Another Injured

One Athens police officer was shot to death Tuesday and another was wounded following a carjacking incident on the city's east side.

The dead officer was identified as senior police Officer Elmer "Buddy" Christian, a father of two, according to Athens-Clarke County police Chief Joseph H. Lumpkin Sr.

The surviving officer was identified as senior police Officer Tony Howard.

A murder warrant was issued for Jamie Hood, 33, who police were still searching for Tuesday evening. Hood was described as a 5-foot-8, 175-pound black man who was wearing blue shorts and a white T-shirt.

The shootings came on the same day that police chiefs from around the country said they supported longer prison terms for gun-carrying felons as a way to combat a recent rise in line-of-duty deaths. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder directed U.S. attorneys nationwide to identify repeat offenders for possible prosecution under federal law that would make them eligible for stiffer sentences.

Before the Athens shootings, so far this year, 49 officers lost their lives, a 20 percent rise from the same time last year.

Hood was released from prison in 2009 after serving more than 11 years for an armed robbery conviction in Athens-Clarke County, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Lumpkin said the shooting stemmed from the investigation of an alleged shooting and carjacking involving Hood.

The shooting happened about 1:30 p.m. near Sycamore Drive and Atlanta Highway, about three miles west of the University of Georgia.

Howard spotted a red Chevrolet Suburban driven by a known relative of Hood. When he stopped the SUV, Hood stepped out and fired at him and then fled, Lumpkin said. He later shot at Christian when he encountered him in his patrol car, Lumpkin said. A third officer arrested the driver of the SUV.

Though the shooting was not far from UGA's campus, the university was unaffected, according to campus police Chief Jimmy Williamson.

The Department of Corrections said Hood had several distinguishing tattoos, including the word "job" with a female on his chest, the words "Robert/dad" on his right arm and the words "mom Azale" with a heart on his left arm.

Athens police said he may have escaped in a silver Chevrolet Prizm, which was located several hours after the shooting.

Includes information from The Associated Press.


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