SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Several blocks of west Savannah were shut down Thursday afternoon as police hunted for the man who shot officer Michael Eric Broome, an 11-year veteran of the Savannah-Chatham Metro police department.
Broome was released from Memorial University Medical Center on Thursday night. He was shot once in the chest above his bullet-proof vest and was sliced in the arm with a knife. Pieces of the metal nameplate pinned to his uniform were removed from his chest wound.
The suspect remained at-large Thursday night and is described as a black man in his 20s, 5-foot-11 to 6-feet tall, weighing about
175 pounds. He has a short haircut and was wearing a red shirt, long black shorts and black shoes.
The shooting occurred at
12:42 p.m., within sight of Metro police precinct 2 and less than a quarter mile from the spot where 33-year-old insurance agent Christopher Shuman was stabbed to death behind
a home at 21 Newell St. on April 29.
Police say Broome approached a man who looked suspicious in a dirt alleyway between Love and Richards streets, near Lathrop Avenue. There had been burglaries reported in the area. A struggle ensued. Broome called “signal 13,” a police distress call that demands all officers nearby rush immediately to the scene.
Neighbors say they heard three shots fired about a second apart each. Police arrived to find Broome shot and his arm cut. Authorities did not release further details.
A neighbor said he came out his back door to find officers running down the alleyway with guns drawn.
Larry Smith lives in one of the houses abutting the alleyway. He said Broome walked by about half an hour before the shooting and stopped to chat with him, admiring the hedge Smith was sculpting in his front lawn. Smith said he also knew Shuman, who sold his mother insurance and used to stop by to sit on their front porch and talk. “The neighborhood’s getting rough,” Smith said. “... There ain’t no love on Love Street.”
Police closed off Lathrop Avenue and all streets connecting to it. As temperatures climbed into the 90s, dozens of officers combed the blocks wearing bullet-proof vests and carrying high-powered rifles.
Officers from all precincts were called in, along with Georgia State Patrol officers; U.S. Marshals; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents; Chatham County Sheriff’s deputies, Garden City police, several K-9 units and two police helicopters.
About 4 p.m., the search narrowed to a brick home on Millen Lane, near Richards Street. Police obtained a warrant to search the house and SWAT teams swarmed in. After searching for 20 minutes, they did not find the suspect.
It was the first time since 2009, when Metro police officer Wayne Peterson was shot in the arm with his own weapon by a suspect trying to escape, that an officer has been shot in Chatham County.
It was the second time Broome has been injured in the line of duty. In 2001, he was working off-duty at a football game when he was struck by a car driven by 23-year-old Antonio Jamal Young, who resisted arrest after officers found a bag of marijuana on the floor of his car and Young tried to get away. Broome’s injuries were minor.