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2 off-duty Ga. officers fatally shot in 'ambush'; suspects still on loose

The Associated Press

DeKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Two off-duty DeKalb County police officers were killed in what appeared to be an ambush at an apartment complex early Wednesday, police said.

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The two officers, working as security guards at the complex, were investigating a suspicious person at the complex when shots rang out, DeKalb County Police Chief Terrell Bolton told The Associated Press.

Authorities were searching for two males seen running from the scene. Police were using dogs and a helicopter to search for the suspects.

''We've got every able body looking for them,'' Bolton said. A busload of at least three dozen police recruits was taken into the apartment complex to search for clues.

Later, at a news conference, Bolton addressed the gunmen: ''If I were you, I'd turn myself in. The sun's coming up. Before sundown, we're gonna find you.''

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

Police were called to the scene around 12:40 a.m., Bolton said. One officer was dead at the scene. The other was pronounced dead at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, he said.

Bolton said the shooting looked like an ambush.

''It just appeared that they were gunned down without a chance,'' he said.

Patreka Anderson, a resident of the complex, said she was awakened by the gunshots but did not think anything of it because it 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.''

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.''

Police closed off a mile-long section of the street in front of the complex and much of it was cordoned off with yellow tape as investigators gathered evidence.

About a dozen children from the complex and their parents waited to see if police would allow a school bus past the cordon to pick them up.

The slain officers' names were not immediately released. Bolton said one was a two-year veteran and the other had been on the force for four years.

''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.''

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