A 27-year-old man accused of shooting and killing his girlfriend before opening fire on DeKalb County officers was arrested Thursday night in Lithonia.
Otis Walker had been on the run since the Aug. 1 incident at a home on Hodgdon Corners Cove in the Stonecrest area. Walker fatally shot Aleka Simmons, 27, inside the home and ambushed officers as they arrived, authorities said. Derek Nunn, a three-year veteran of the police force, was wounded.
Simmons was found dead when SWAT officers swept the residence. Hers was the eighth homicide related to domestic violence in DeKalb County this year, according DeKalb County police assistant Chief Antonio Catlin, who commands the criminal investigation unit.
Nunn was released from a hospital Thursday after undergoing emergency surgery and is now at home resting comfortably.
“This was a tragic event of domestic violence that never should have happened,” Catlin said Friday during a press conference. “Our prayers go out to the family of Ms. Simmons, for the loss of her life, and also to Officer Nunn, who was seriously injured.”
Authorities combed the neighborhood for Walker for several hours after the shootings, but he was believed to have escaped on foot. His disappearance prompted the GBI to issue a blue alert, and a $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to his capture.
He did not get very far. Working on a tip, fugitive investigators tracked Walker to a hideout in the Lithonia area and put him under surveillance, DeKalb County sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Leslie said. He was arrested without incident at a gas station on Panola Road with the assistance of U.S. marshals and the DeKalb County police K-9 unit.
Walker faces a single count of felony murder and three counts of felony aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He is also charged with violating his probation.
During the press conference, authorities stressed the importance of recognizing when a relationship is abusive. Walker has a history of arrests on charges ranging from aggravated assault to family violence dating back to 2015, records show. One family violence case is currently pending.
A past history of abuse is an indicator in the majority of domestic violence deaths, according to the Georgia Commission on Family Violence. The government agency publishes a review of those deaths each year, and in 2018, 91% of cases reviewed by the agency had a known history of physical or non-physical abuse prior to the fatal incident.
There are a number of resources available to victims of abuse in DeKalb County, police said, including the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence. The DeKalb police department staffs a special victims unit dedicated to domestic violence.
“This type of crime is reprehensible,” Leslie said. “It will not be tolerated in DeKalb County. The shooting of a victim is wrong. The shooting of a police officer is wrong ... and we will waste no resources in bringing you into custody.”
Walker is being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond.
—Please return to AJC.com for updates.
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