SPECIAL REPORT: In the Line of Fire - Americus moms open up about slain officers

SPECIAL REPORT: In the Line of Fire - Americus moms open up about slain officers

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – It's been two months since a Southwest Georgia man shot and killed two police officers.

The Americus community is still grieving alongside both officers' very tearful mothers, who sat down with us for exclusive one-on-one interviews.

They didn't hold back in sharing their immense sadness, what it was like on that tragic day, and how they're trying to move forward.

"You just have that bad feeling for that bad day," said Sharon Johnson, mother of slain Officer Jody Smith.

"We want to take that day back, but we can't," added Janice Smarr, mother of slain Officer Nick Smarr.

Two mothers face piercing pain because of what happened December 7, 2016. Their sons, both 25 years old, were doing their jobs as police officers, responding to a domestic call at an apartment complex in Americus, GA.

On body camera video that was on Americus Police Officer Nick Smarr, you see him arriving on the scene to back up his longtime friend and roommate Jody Smith, an officer for nearby Georgia Southwestern State University.

"Nick goes through and the killer takes off through the back door," Janice said. "Then you can see Nick running! (shots fired) What chance in a lifetime can you get both of them in two shots, while you're running."

"Nick, he ran back to Jodi, and took his last breath trying to help Jody," Sharon remarked.

"I do know his (Nick's) last words were, 'Hang on Jody, I got you man, I got you man,'" Janice said.

Americus police say Officer Smarr was found on top of Officer Smith, whose mom is a Sumter County Sheriff's Deputy. Sharon didn't know who was hurt when she responded to the dispatch call.

"I heard officers down and then they hollered two officers down... Jody wasn't answering the phone. I texted him, I said 'just please tell me something,'" an emotional Sharon said. "That's when they told me, Jody had been shot! And I just, I just screamed... I said 'No, not Jody not Jody!'"

As they rushed to the hospital, Johnson says she was begging God to save her son.

"My oldest daughter called me, she was at the ER, and she said Nick had been shot and I was waiting for her to tell me he was okay," Janice recalled.

By then, he was already gone. Janice said the emotions were so raw over losing her son, her hero - in the line of duty.

"I was mad, I was angry...because Nick loved his job. He had just left here an hour before that," Janice said.

"I know I need to get over the anger, but I'm not ready yet, I still want to hate," said Jody Smith's stepfather Paul Johnson.

Jody Smith's grave is a little more than 100 yards from his mom and stepfather's Americus home. It's been two months since her son was shot, saying she can still see his face from that tragic day.

"I can see those blue eyes. What I see now, those eyes were, I want to say they were looking at Jesus," Sharon said through her tears.

Now, all they can hold is picture and memories. All the Smarr family also wears these buttons. Nick's name is on the front door, ribbons on mail boxes. Mom Janice says they don't want to let him go.

"Nick was an angel his whole life, he did for everybody...and we want him back, and we can't get him back. I have a hole in my heart," Janice said. "All he did was smile...all the time, smile. Out of all my four kids, you could put them around the dinner table and ask who's mom's favorite. Everybody pointed to Nick, and he pointed to himself."

"These two boys here were the finest kids you ever want to meet," Paul added.

These brothers in blue both dreamed of being police officers, at a young age.

Now, Officer Smith's old bedroom is filled with memories of him, including blankets full of pictures, made by people in the community. His folded-up uniform is also there.

"I don't know how I'm going to get through it because every single day, I cry," Janice said.

"Jody was a good boy, had the biggest heart!" Sharon said. "I'd like to think no other mother would have to go through what I'm going through."

She wears a bracelet in memory of her only son, who was going to get married to his high school sweetheart Sarah Smarr in May.

Sharon has now turned her tears into motivation, going back to work at the sheriff's office more than a month after the murders.

"It was like Jody said... Momma, it's time for you to get back in that uniform, go back to work," Sharon said. "I choose to live, I choose to move forward, number one because I want to honor my son."

Officer Smith's stepfather says his wife Sharon is now reaching out to the friends of Minquell Lembrick, who killed their son - telling her story at their hangout.

"Before she leaves there, every one of them was crying," Paul Johnson said about her testimony to them.

"I can't save Jody, but maybe I can save other sons by something I say," Sharon said.

Spreading love, she says, not hate. But there's still deep sadness for both these moms.

"We go to his grave every day," Janice said. "I just get me a blanket and sit out there on the bench for a couple hours and I just talk to Nick."

"There are times when I sit there at the gravesite, look down and say...this is just a dream," Paul said.

Sharon goes to Jody's grave at least two or three times a day and talks to her son... remembering all the lives he impacted protecting and serving.

"And I salute him as an officer, and then I say my prayers and I ask God to give me strength," Sharon said.

Her son, Jody - who was an organ donor - lived one day after the shooting, so they were able to donate his organs and save even more lives.

As for Janice , she says she's not angry now because their killer is dead.

Her son Nick was also the biggest Atlanta Falcons fan and would've loved to see them play in the Super Bowl.

You can watch the full, raw interviews with Sharon and Janice attached to this story.

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