Georgian police shootout kills suspect in four deaths, wounds two officers, authorities say

HAMPTON, Ga. — ( — Officers Sunday shot and killed a man wanted for four murders over the weekend near Atlanta during a shootout, with a sheriff’s deputy and a police officer injured while trying to take the suspect into custody, authorities said. .

Officials said Andre Longmore was shot during an intense manhunt for the 40-year-old suspect. The shootout came a day after gunfire rocked a pastoral neighborhood in the Hamptons, south of Georgia’s main city, on Saturday morning.

Officials said Longmore was killed about 15 miles (25 km) north of Hampton in the Jonesboro suburb. A Henry County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Clayton County Police Officer were shot at different locations while attempting to arrest Longmore, they said.

One officer was shot in the back and flown by helicopter to an emergency room in Atlanta, Henry County Sheriff Reginald Scandrett said. “He is currently conscious, breathing and talking,” Skandret said of the officer.

Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Turner said both officers are expected to recover.

Hampton Police Chief James Turner said all four of those killed on Saturday were residents of the same area of ​​Dogwood Lakes where Longmore lived, and they were all shot within 10 minutes. He identified the victims as Scott Leavitt, 67, and his wife, Shirley Leavitt, 66, as well as Steve Blizzard, 65, and Ronald Jeffers, 66.

Sherri Wyatt, who works at the Hampton Recreation Center next to Jeffers’ home, said that Jeffers regularly came to sing at the senior center, which is in the same building.

A few months ago, Jeffers went to her side of the building to practice, and she told him what a beautiful voice he had.

“I’m so glad I told him he sang like an angel,” Wyatt said, adding that on Sunday her heart was heavy over his death. “I know he’s singing in heaven right now.”

The Blizzard relative did not immediately respond to the Facebook message.

Authorities tried to arrest Longmore on four murder warrants. Turner said Longmore’s motives remain under investigation.

On Sunday, neighbor Frankie Worth told the Associated Press that he heard a gunshot Saturday morning as he reached to his living room window to open the blinds and see how much yard work he had to do.

Worth said he ducked “just for a second” and then looked out the window again. “You know, when you get incoming messages, you have to know where they’re coming from,” said Worth, who identified himself as a Marine Corps veteran.

Longmore, whom Worth knew only as Andre, stood in the middle of the street. Worth said he saw the man’s hands twitch from the recoil when firing the silver pistol.

Worth said the man appeared to be shooting at a small white car driven by another neighbor, “an older white gentleman.” He said the shooting took place on the edge of the cul-de-sac where they all live.

Worth said he initially thought it was a traffic accident, but said the man was moving on purpose. “He didn’t look angry or frustrated or flustered,” Worth said.

Worth said that Longmore seemed to be assessing whether he needed to fire again and then “began casually walking” towards the unit’s entrance and then “at a brisk pace”. Worth said he ran upstairs, watching Longmore disappear through the trees, and called the police.

Police said Longmore escaped in a black GMC Acadia SUV stolen from Blizzard after the shooting.

Turner told reporters Saturday that detectives are investigating at least four crime scenes in Dogwood Lakes. On Sunday, at least three police cars were on duty around the neighborhood, restricting access. About 40 houses on two streets adjoin the lake in the neighborhood, about 25 miles (40 km) south of downtown Atlanta.

Ron Foster, who lives on the main road outside the entrance to the block, said Longmore drove through his and his neighbor’s yard, destroying several ornamental windmills and leaving tire marks still visible on the grass a day later. Foster was at his home at the time.

“What was going on in this man’s head after he had done everything he had done?” Foster wondered. “It was unrealistic.”

Foster was unaware at the time that several people had been shot, but said he received a call from a friend, a retired police officer.

“He called me and said, ‘Ron, you all stay home or go somewhere,'” Foster said. “We did just that.”

Hampton is home to Atlanta Motor Speedway, Georgia’s competition track for NASCAR. The most recent murder before Saturday in the city of 8,000 occurred in 2018, Turner said. “It’s not normal for us,” he said.

The shooting was the 31st mass shooting in 2023, killing at least 153 people this year, according to a database maintained by AP and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.

Hampton Mayor Ann Tarpley said the city will hold a prayer vigil on Monday evening in memory of the four victims and their loved ones.

“We have their back and will continue to support them throughout their bereavement,” Tarpley said.

Associated Press contributors Tom Murphy provided input from Indianapolis and Leah Willingham from Charleston, West Virginia.

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