A triple murder suspect that was cornered by a SWAT team in a building in West Knoxville, Tennessee, since yesterday has died. However, not a single shot from the SWAT team ended the man’s life.
The suspect, 27-year-old David Smith, succumbed to a gunshot wound that was very likely self-inflicted. For more than 24 hours, law enforcement had closed Parkwest Boulevard at Cedar Bluff during the standoff at the Days Inn in West Knoxville. Now that the standoff has ended, they have opened the road for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, reported Bay News 9.
David Eugene Smith was accused of killing three people in Lakeland, Florida, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Department. As The Inquisitr had reported, the standoff began yesterday at 11:30 am local time. David Smith, an army veterinarian, who had served with the 82nd Airborne Division and been on military deportation at Afghanistan and Iraq was said to be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Described as a paranoid loner by the neighbors, family members are said to have approached the disturbed man on multiple occasions and urged him to begin medication. But apparently David had shunned their concerned approaches.
The case took a very bizarre turn when at 9:44 am local time, Major Mike MacLean with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office received a call from Smith over the 911 emergency response number. Smith identified himself as being wanted for triple murder. He also said he wanted to die, and wanted to commit suicide, reported WBIR-TV.
Patrol units immediately reached the Days Inn and confirmed which room Smith was in, but chose not to make contact. The SWAT team arrived at 10:45 am to take command of the situation and to begin negotiations with Smith. Officials set up a small perimeter around the hotel and warned businesses and people in that area that there was a possible sniper situation.
Smith fired two shots from his motel room. Though no one was hit, sheriff’s deputies and Knoxville Police officers expanded the perimeter, and issued safety instructions to vacate the area. Meanwhile, crisis negotiators spoke with Smith for about two hours. Major MacLean confirmed that Smith made no demands. But at 12:15 pm, Smith broke off all contact with negotiators, and refused to answer the phone.
After waiting and trying in vain to resume contact, the SWAT team fired tear gas into the motel room at 1:20 pm, and five minutes later, Smith was taken into custody. But as they brought the triple murder suspect out, it was clear that the man was suffering severely from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
David was rushed to the UT Medical Center for treatment, but he succumbed to the injuries a little while later. Thus the standoff between the triple murder suspect and SWAT team tragically ended, without a single shot being fired from the law enforcement side.
[Image Credit | WBIR via WTSP, Wade Payne]