Damien Anthony Ferguson, who goes by Luke Ferguson, was named as the suspect in the killing of Alamo Police Officer Dylan Harrison in Georgia on October 9, 2021. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced on the evening of October 10 that Ferguson, 43, had been arrested that afternoon and charged with murder in the shooting death of Harrison and was being held at the Laurens County Jail.
Harrison was working his first shift with the department when he was fatally shot, officials said.
Harrison was a 26-year-old father of a 6-month old boy who lived in Dudley, Georgia, with his wife and son, officials said. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation named Ferguson, 43, of Alamo as a suspect in the killing.
A $17,500 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of Ferguson. Officials described him as a Black male, 5-foot-10-inches tall and weighing 215 pounds, with brown eyes and short black hair. Officials said he was considered armed and dangerous.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Blue Alert Was Issued for Ferguson Following Harrison’s Death
GBI spokeswoman Natalie Ammons said during an October 9 press conference that a blue alert was issued for Ferguson as police hunted for the suspect in Harrison’s killing.
“A Blue Alert is a public safety alert that is issued when a suspect has killed or seriously injured an officer, and has not been apprehended, and that may be a serious threat to the public,” Ammons said during the news conference.
Anyone with information about the shooting or Ferguson’s whereabouts was asked to call the GBI at 1-800-597-8477 or to submit tips through the GBI website. The GBI also posted information about the suspect and reward on Twitter.
GBI Eastman Special Agent in Charge Lindsey Wilkes said during the news conference multiple departments are working together to apprehend Ferguson.
“The most important thing right now is we’re telling everybody to be on the lookout for the suspect at this time,” Ammons said.
In an October 10 press release, the GBI announced that Ferguson had been “taken into custody during the execution of a search warrant at his residence in Alamo, GA without incident by the State of Georgia SWAT Team and U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force.” In addition to murder, Ferguson is charged with “Aggravated Stalking related to a previous domestic incident,” according to the press release.
2. Ferguson Spent More Than 7 Years in Prison Following an Assault on an Officer
Ferguson has a history of violence against police, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. He served a prison sentence of more than seven years following a conviction on charges of theft by taking and assault on an officer in Wheeler County, Georgia, the newspaper reported. He was freed from the Coffee Correctional Facility about 15 years ago in August 2006, the newspaper reported, referencing Georgia Department of Corrections records.
Harrison’s first job in his career was working as an emergency dispatcher for Laurens County beginning in 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, referencing state records. He began working for Middle Georgia State University in 2017 as a campus police officer, the newspaper reported, and achieved the rank of sergeant.
Harrison completed public safety training in Monroe County in 2018 and worked part-time for the Cochran Police Department from September 2018 until May 2020, the outlet reported. Ammons said during the news conference that Harrison was also a full-time Oconee Drug Task Force agent in Dodge County, Georgia.
3. Officials Initially Released Few Details on the Shooting but Later Said It Was a Retaliatory ‘Ambush-Style Attack’
Few details were released in the shooting of Harrison at the initial news conference held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, October 9, 2021.
“Early this morning, around 1 a.m., Officer Dylan Harrison was shot and killed outside the Alamo Police Department,” Ammons said. “Officer Harrison was 26 years old, of Dudley, Georgia, and leaves behind a wife and a 6-month-old baby.”
Ammons said the investigation was “very active” and that apprehending Ferguson was a top priority. Harrison’s body was taken to the GBI Crime Lab for an autopsy.
More details were released on October 10 after Ferguson’s arrest. According to the GBI press release, Harrison initially “made contact with a man” the night before the shooting, on Friday, October 8, “for a traffic violation in the parking lot of the Circle K” across the street from the police department. The suspect “refused” to provide his name and identification, according to the press release, before engaging in “a verbal altercation with Officer Harrison, that escalated to the man pushing the officer.” The man then resisted arrest and Harrison discharged his Taser, ultimately arresting the man and taking him to the Wheeler County Jail, the press release indicates.
The man arrested on October 8 “is a known associate of Damien Ferguson. It is believed that the ambush-style attack on Officer Harrison was retaliation for the incident and arrest of the man,” the press release states.
4. Law Enforcement Agencies & Officials Across the State Wrote Tributes to Harrison on Social Media
Social media was flooded with condolences for the family of Harrison in the hours after his death. Among those was a post from the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
“We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Alamo Police Department’s Officer killed in the line of duty early this morning,” Georgia DPS wrote on Twitter. “We send our thoughts and prayers to the Officer’s family, blood and blue.”
Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp also shared his “thoughts and prayers” for Harrison on Twitter.
“Early this morning, one of our law enforcement officials in Middle Georgia was killed in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with this officer’s family, friends, and colleagues at the Alamo Police Department,” he wrote on Twitter. “May God continue to be with all who protect and serve.”
Telfair County Sheriff Sim Davidson was also among those who wrote condolences to Harrison’s family on social media.
“Our sincerest thoughts, prayers, and condolences to the family, friends, and co-workers of Officer Dylan Harrison who was killed in the line of duty last night in Alamo. We are sincerely grateful for his service. Rest In Peace sir,” the post said.
“Officer Dylan Harrison formerly of Cochran PD, and Middle Georgia State University Was ambushed and killed in Alamo last night,” the McRae-Helena Police Department wrote on Facebook. “He leaves behind a wife and 6 month old. I pray the suspect is caught soon and justice is quick. My deepest sympathy for his friends, colleagues, and family.”
5. At Least 5 Other Georgia Law Enforcement Officers Were Killed in the Line of Duty by October 2021
The Officer Down Memorial Page reported that at least six police officers in Georgia have been killed in the line of duty in 2021. An additional 23 law enforcement officers in Georgia have died from COVID-19 this year, according to the website. Among those was a fellow Alamo Police Officer, Arturo Villegas, who died from COVID-19 complications January 10, 2021, the website says.
Line of duty deaths include DeKalb County Police Department Sergeant Daniel Marcus Mobley, 44, a 22-year veteran of the police force. He was struck by a vehicle January 2, 2021, while responding to a vehicle accident involving another officer. Decatur County Sheriff’s Office Captain Justin Williams Bedwell, 48, was fatally shot during a vehicle pursuit and died March 1, 2021, the memorial page says.
Bibb County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff Christopher Wilson Knight, 30, was stabbed to death while he was moving a prisoner to an observation area after the prisoner made suicidal comments at the Bibb County Law Enforcement Center April 6, 2021. Holly Springs Police Department Officer Joseph William Burson, 25, died June 17, 2021, after he was dragged by a speeding vehicle during a traffic stop, the webpage says. Colquitt Police Department Chief of Police Kenneth Kirkland, 51, died from a heart attack while on duty August 25, 2021, the website says.