Thursday, December 25, 2008

Former Cop Suspected in Shootings Dies

Former Cop Suspected in Shootings Dies
Dec. 23, 2008

...A former Utah state trooper suspected in a series of roadway shootings earlier this week died on Christmas Eve, a hospital official said. Dallas police said they believe Brian Smith, above, killed at least one of the victims in a series of apparent random rush-hour shootings near Dallas. Smith shot and injured himself after a standoff with police.

The 37-year-old had been in critical condition on life support from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say he shot himself in the head after a brief standoff early Tuesday, more than six hours after the roadway shooting spree ended...

Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said authorities were working to confirm that Smith was the gunman in separate shooting deaths minutes apart Monday on a Garland street and a Dallas interstate.

Earlier Wednesday, police shut down the freeway to re-examine the scene of one of several of the shootings.

Officials said both police departments were waiting for ballistics tests to come back for possible matches of bullet casings...

Warrants for Smith's arrest had been issued in the Fort Worth suburb of Southlake, where authorities have obtained evidence linking him to two robberies in the past eight days. Both incidents involved thefts in which purses were stolen from women in vehicles parked at businesses near where Smith lived.

Police have tied Smith to the incidents through witness identification and video of him using a credit card belonging to one of the victims, Southlake police spokesman Mike Bedrich said.

Smith moved to Keller with his wife and children last spring, just months after his conduct came under scrutiny from the Utah Highway Patrol. His peace officer certification was revoked after he went on a drinking binge and threatened to kill himself.

In Utah, where Smith's problems as a trooper are just now coming to light, he's remembered as a good father who never lost his temper and coached youth soccer and basketball.

"This is a shock for everyone who knows Brian," said Michael Peterson, Smith's former bishop in the Mormon church. "Obviously, he was struggling with some things. But the Brian Smith that everyone around here knows would never have done any of these things."

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