Triple murder suspect David Eugene Smith died of a reported self-inflicted gunshot wound on Tuesday after being surrounded by a S.W.A.T team. The 27-year old was on the run after allegedly killing three people in Lakeland, Florida over the holiday weekend.
Smith was a military veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan and Iraq; he reportedly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was given to paranoid delusions, and had been involuntarily hospitalized at some point. According to Sheriff Grady Judd, Smith’s mother thought he lived in another dimension. After he ran from police to Knoxville, Tennessee, authorities released a statement to the public naming him as exceptionally dangerous. He was an immediate suspect in the killings of Daniella Smith–who was reportedly his sister–and her friends, Miranda Mims and Nikosi Williams.
“It was a very violent scene,” Judd said.
The 14-year old daughter of one of the women returned home on Monday night from an ROTC trip and found the gory scene; her sergeant major had dropped her off and was still outside, and called for help when she ran out.
Smith had given his family cause for concern over recent months, posting things on his Facebook page such as “I hate evil and will not allow it on my planet.” He had lived with his sister for the past several weeks, and according to Sheriff Judd, his family had tried to get him help for his mental disorders to no avail.
“I don’t know who could have done more, but I know a lot of people in the family tried to help him,” Judd said.
Judd also said that the 14-year old girl probably would not have been spared had she been home over the weekend.
“I consider her exceptionally lucky she wasn’t in the house this weekend. At that point in time, he killed everyone in the house, and he wouldn’t have spared her life if she was in the house.”
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