Man charged with murder in killing of officer on 1st shift

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ALAMO, Ga. (AP) — A man accused of gunning down a Georgia police officer during his first shift with the department, ambushed him in retaliation for the officer’s arrest of an associate hours earlier, authorities said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said 43-year-old Damien Anthony Ferguson has been charged with murder in the shooting death of Officer Dylan Harrison outside the Alamo Police Department early Saturday.

In this photo released by Georgia Department of Public Safety, Damien Ferguson is photographed after he was apprehended Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Alamo, Ga. Ferguson is accused of gunning down a Georgia police officer during his first shift with the department Saturday, Oct. 9. Authorities said the ambush was in retaliation for the officer’s arrest of an associate of Ferguson’s hours earlier. (Georgia Department of Public Safety via AP)

On Friday afternoon, Harrison approached a driver in the parking lot of the Circle K convenience store across from the police department after he observed a traffic violation, authorities said. The driver refused to identify himself and the interaction escalated when the man pushed Harrison. Harrison used his Taser, arrested the man and took him to jail, authorities said.

“It is believed that the ambush-style attack on Officer Harrison was retaliation for the incident and arrest of the man,” the bureau said in a statement on Sunday evening. They did not identify the man.

Speaking at a press conference Sunday, Alamo Police Chief Karen Zanders said, “I have never experienced a grief that I have felt since Officer Dylan Harrison’s life was taken in our small, quiet town.”

“His life was taken from him for simply doing his job,” she added.

In this photo released by Georgia Department of Public Safety, Damien Ferguson, center, is taken into custody by officers of a state SWAT team and a division of the U.S. Marshals Service, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Alamo, Ga. Ferguson is accused of gunning down a Georgia police officer during his first shift with the department Saturday, Oct. 9. Authorities said the ambush was in retaliation for the officer’s arrest of an associate of Ferguson’s hours earlier. (Georgia Department of Public Safety via AP)

Ferguson was taken into custody on Sunday afternoon at his home in Alamo, located in Wheeler County about 90 miles (145 kilometers) southeast of Macon. A state SWAT team and a division of the U.S. Marshals Service arrested him without incident following a large manhunt.

He is also charged with aggravated stalking related to a previous domestic incident and is being held in the Laurens County jail, authorities said.

It was not immediately known Sunday if he has an attorney to speak on his behalf.

Harrison is survived by his wife and their 6-month-old son.

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