Slain detective identified after two arrested in shooting of Polk Co. officers

Neighbors put on high alert while police searched for alleged gunman in officer's slaying

POLK COUNTY, Ga. — Two suspects are in custody after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said one of them shot at two Polk County police officers, killing one of them.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan said in a late-day news conference that Detective Kristen Hearne, 29, was killed in the incident.

Investigators said Officer David Goodrich was called out to a suspicious vehicle along Santa Claus Road in Polk County, where he found a Ford Escape that had been reported stolen out of Tennessee.

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Hearne was called in as backup.

The officers were checking out the car when police said Seth Brandon Spangler, 31, and Samantha Roof, 22, walked out of the nearby wood line and up to the officers.

The officers began speaking with the duo when Keenan said Spangler pulled out a handgun and shot the officers.

Goodrich was shot in his bulletproof vest. Hearne later died from her injuries.

Keenan said the duo ran from the scene. Roof was caught a short time later.

Around 2:45 p.m., as officers were securing the perimeter around the scene, Spangler appeared out of the woods and was taken into custody.

Spangler was taken to the Polk County Jail. He is charged with felony murder and felony aggravated assault.

Roof will also be charged with felony offenses.

Spangler has outstanding offenses out of Walker County for felony probation violations. Keenan said Spangler has a lengthy criminal history.

Polk County Police Chief Kenny Dodd said Kristen Hearne was the type of officer who lit up any room she was in.

“You always knew when she was present. Hardworking, dedicated, loved her job,” Dodd said. “Words can’t express the sorrow and the hurt that we feel right now as an agency.”

Hearne is five-year veteran of the department. She leaves behind a husband, mother, father and a 3-year-old son. She is the first officer to be killed in the line of duty for the department.

The GBI is leading the investigation along with the Polk County Police Department.

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