2 Georgia police officers shot, wounded serving warrant

Posted at 5:49 PM, Dec 12, 2016

A man shot and wounded two Georgia police officers executing a search warrant early Monday, prompting officers to return fire, killing him, authorities said.

The man's girlfriend and an infant about 1 month old were also in the house in the central city of Fort Valley at the time of the shooting but neither was harmed, Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent J.T. Ricketson said.

Officer James Wynn, 27, was shot once in his vest and in his left arm, Byron police Lt. Bryan Hunter said. Wynn underwent surgery and is expected to recover fully. He has been with the Byron Police Department for three and a half years and has been in law enforcement for five years, Hunter said.

Officer William Patterson, 26, also was wounded in the left arm and was treated at a hospital and released, Hunter said. Patterson has been with the Byron Police Department for two months and in law enforcement for three years.

Ricketson identified the deceased man as 31-year-old Rainer Tyler Smith.

The shooting happened after a drug task force went to a home about 2:30 a.m. Monday to execute a search warrant, Ricketson said. When no one responded after they knocked on the front door and announced themselves, they gained entry through the back door.

The moment they were entering, someone inside fired at least one round, prompting officers to return fire, killing the suspect, he said.

Smith was white. Patterson is white and Wynn is black.

The shooting comes at what has been a dangerous time for law enforcement officers in Georgia. At least seven officers have been killed by gunmen in the line of duty this year.

Most recently, two police officers were shot last week while responding to a domestic dispute call in Americus, a city in rural southwest Georgia. Americus Officer Nicholas Smarr died Wednesday and fellow officer and lifelong friend Jody Smith died the following day. The suspected gunman was found dead later — apparently of a self-inflicted gunshot wound — inside a home where he was hiding.


Associated Press Writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.