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  1. #1
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Former Utah trooper is a suspect in Dallas-area shootings

    http://www.star-telegram.com/804/story/1110255.html

    Previous story:
    2 killed after shots fired at 4 North Texas drivers

    By DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR. and KATE GORMAN
    ramirez@star-telegram.com



    Investigators have identified a former Utah state trooper as a suspect in a series of highway shootings in Dallas that left two motorists dead, police said.

    Brian Smith, 37, who now lives in Keller, shot himself early Tuesday during a standoff in Garland with a SWAT team.

    Smith was listed in critical condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

    "We feel confident because of the ballistics tests that we have at this point that he (Smith) is responsible for the shootings, " said Sgt. Gil Cerda, police spokesman.

    However, the testing results are preliminary and expected to be completed sometime Wednesday, Cerda said.



    Smith’s possible involvement is being investigated in two Garland crimes that began with the robbery of a Kroger pharmacy and ended with a fatal shooting at Jupiter Road and Marquis Drive on Monday. Smith is a suspect in three shootings that occurred in Dallas later Monday on Interstate 635, police said.Smith was identified by an eyewitness in the commission of the Kroger pharmacy robbery, but investigators are awaiting results from their own ballistics testing before they link Smith with the Garland shootings, Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said Tuesday.

    "We’re testing the bullets found in his vehicle with the other shootings," Harn said. "It’s just a part of our investigation because of how close in time the events happened to each other."

    Subhead Police believe that the crimes began at 5:25 p.m. Monday, with a robbery at the Kroger pharmacy at 1406 W. Walnut St. in Garland.

    About 15 minutes later officers found Jorge Lopez, 20, of Rowlett, fatally shot in his Nissan about 2 1/2 miles away from the pharmacy, Harn said.

    "Witnesses say the driver in the pickup pulled along side the car and started firing," Harn said.

    Within minutes, three more shootings were reported on westbound Interstate 635 in Dallas, police said.

    On the highway near Jupiter Road, an 18-wheeler was shot at, but the 62-year-old truck driver was not hit, police said.

    About three miles down the highway, the gunman opened fire on another 18-wheeler, killing driver William Scott Miller, 42.

    The last shooting was reported west of Skillman Street when the gunman fired at an 18-wheeler driven by Gary Roberts, 46, who was hit by flying glass, police said.

    The highway shooter was described as a white male in his forties, who was balding and driving a tan Ford F-150 extended cab pickup with loud mufflers, Dallas police said.

    Subhead For the next several hours, area police searched for clues to the identity of the gunman.

    As a manhunt continued, Southlake authorities alerted Garland police that Smith could be in the city, driving a Honda CRV. Authorities warned that Smith could be armed with a gun and was suicidal.

    Southlake police have arrest warrants accusing Smith of burglary of a vehicle, but hadn’t attempted to arrest him on Monday, police spokesman Sgt. Mike Bedrich said Tuesday.

    Garland police spotted the Honda about 9 p.m. Monday near Texas 66 and Commerce Street. Smith was inside, but he did not respond to any commands. A SWAT team was called to the scene.

    Shortly after midnight, Smith attempted to drive away, but authorities parked a vehicle in front and behind him, police said.

    As SWAT team members moved in, a gunshot went off inside of the vehicle, police said.

    Subhead

    Smith joined the Utah Highway Patrol in 1996 and attained a rank of sergeant, said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur, a Utah Department of Public Safety spokesman who said he became "pretty good friends" with Smith in the eight years they worked together.

    Smith supervised about five patrolmen in the Salt Lake City area and was well-respected and well-liked in the division of about 50 troopers, Nigbur said. Smith was married and had young children, Nigbur said.

    In May, Smith agreed to surrender his law enforcement certification, after an internal investigation into a January incident in which he threatened to kill himself, according to a report released Tuesday.

    On January 10, Smith consumed two pints of hard liquor before calling his bishop and asking him to come over, according to the documents. When the bishop arrived, they sat in Smith’s highway patrol vehicle and Smith held his handgun to his chin. The bishop took the gun and called authorities, who took Smith into custody without incident.

    Smith began abusing alcohol and prescription medications after an on-duty traffic accident, according to the report.

    Nigbur said that Smith came into his office the day before he left to say he’d found a job opportunity in the Dallas area.

    "He was excited about the future and about going to Texas," Nigbur said.

    Calls to Smith’s Keller home were not returned Tuesday.

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  2. #2
    TXCharlie's Avatar
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    Police: Dallas shooting suspect had troubled past

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081224/...llas_shootings

    Jeff Carlton, Associated Press Writer 1 hr 18 mins ago

    DALLAS A former Utah state trooper suspected in a series of fatal rush-hour shootings near Dallas had an addiction to painkillers and a warrant had been issued for his arrest in connection with a recent robbery, according to Texas and Utah authorities.

    Dallas police said Tuesday they think 37-year-old ex-trooper Brian Smith was responsible for at least one death that resulted from the shootings. They declined to comment on another death in neighboring Garland because it was outside their jurisdiction.



    Garland police spokesman Joe Harn said his department has not been able to make a definitive connection between Smith and the killing there, but acknowledged that he fit the description of the highway shooter: a balding, 40ish white man.

    "We certainly hope it is him," Harn said. "But we are going to have to see more concrete evidence."

    Smith was in critical condition on life support Wednesday morning at a Dallas hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police said he shot himself in the head early Tuesday morning after a brief standoff and more than six hours after the roadway shooting spree ended.

    Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said they linked Smith to the killing in Dallas because the bullets from the standoff were a match. The weapon was a high-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Miller said.

    "We feel safe in saying (Smith)... was the shooter," Miller said.

    Before the standoff, two people were fatally shot and a third was injured in four rush-hour shootings Monday along or near a Dallas-area highway. Police said the victims appeared to have been selected at random.

    The crime spree appears to have begun in Garland, where a man police identified as Smith jumped over a pharmacy counter at a grocery store and stole Oxycontin pills.

    Minutes later, the first shooting happened in Garland when a driver pulled up alongside a small Nissan stopped at a red light and began shooting, Harn said. The Nissan's driver, 20-year-old Jorge "George" Lopez of Rowlett, was killed.

    Witnesses told police the driver headed toward Interstate 635 in Dallas, where shots were fired at an 18-wheeler a short time later. The driver of the 18-wheeler, identified by police as Kenneth Black Harly, was not hurt.

    Minutes later on the same highway, a gunman shot and killed 42-year-old William Scott Miller, the driver of a United Van Lines rig, Miller said.

    Police said the driver, a military veteran who was about to fly home to his wife and two young daughters in Frankfort, Ky., for the holidays, was able to bring his truck safely to a stop before he died.

    "The act he did in and of itself I consider to be heroic," Miller said. "Despite being mortally wounded, he was able to control his rig to the point where other drivers weren't injured."

    After the shooting of Miller, another semitrailer was fired upon a half-mile away on the same interstate. The driver, 46-year-old Gary Roberts, was injured by debris and glass but not struck by any bullets. His right eye was hit by shattered glass and he needed several stitches in his fingers, said Bedford Wilhite, who works with Roberts at Dugan Truck Line.

    Roberts told Wilhite he is "much blessed and thankful to be alive."

    "It's just absolutely stunning to me that something like this would happen," Wilhite said. "This is our way of surviving in this country truckers hauling goods up and down the highways. Why would someone want to take potshots like this at our drivers?"

    A spokesman with the Utah Department of Public Safety said Smith had been a trooper since 1996 but resigned in May because of "personal issues." Smith, who was a sergeant in the Utah Highway Patrol, had his peace officer certification revoked following a January incident.

    According to a report by the Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training investigations bureau, Smith drank two pints of hard liquor and drove his patrol car home. When he arrived, he summoned his clergyman, who sat with him in the patrol car. Smith held a gun to his own head and threatened to kill himself. The clergyman eventually grabbed the gun when Smith placed it on the dashboard. Smith later confirmed the details of the incident to an internal investigator.

    Smith was taken to a hospital for treatment and a psychological evaluation, according to the report, The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday in its online edition.

    "Smith also admitted, in the past, he had stolen and used Demerol and one Ambien tablet from his father-in-law's dental office," the report says. "Smith's abuse of alcohol and prescription medications started after an on-duty traffic accident."

    A Utah Department of Public Safety investigation found that Smith drove under the influence, committed theft and was engaged in conduct that would "tend to disrupt, diminish or otherwise jeopardize public trust and fidelity in law enforcement."

    "Up to that point, he was an amazing person. Very motivated, very career-oriented," said Sgt. Jeff Nigbur of the Utah Highway Patrol, who described Smith as a good friend. "He served this state very well."

    Smith resigned after 12 years and moved to Keller with his family, said Nigbur.

    Southlake authorities obtained a warrant for Smith's arrest in connection with a Dec. 17 robbery of a woman in a suburban shopping center parking lot. The woman was sitting in a vehicle when a man approached and shot a liquid in her eyes, temporarily blinding her.

    "He had some type of squirt gun," said Southlake police spokesman Mike Bedrich. When she covered her face, the suspect took her purse.

    Detectives later identified Smith on surveillance footage using the woman's credit cards

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  3. #3
    PapaBear's Avatar
    PapaBear is offline SgtCHP-Retired
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    Once again, an officer goes off the deep end when an agency fails to recognize the issues that were probably brought on by the job. And, who suffers? Not the agency but some innocent individuals who don't know the officer; his family who had no part in creating the issues and a community of officers who had to face him in trying times.

    May God take pity on this man. May the memories of those who died in innocence live with fondness in their families; and, may HE comfort the family of the former officer as they contend with the negative press.

    Shame on the Utah Highway Patrol commanders!!!
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  4. #4
    IndianaFuzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaBear View Post
    Once again, an officer goes off the deep end when an agency fails to recognize the issues that were probably brought on by the job. And, who suffers? Not the agency but some innocent individuals who don't know the officer; his family who had no part in creating the issues and a community of officers who had to face him in trying times.

    May God take pity on this man. May the memories of those who died in innocence live with fondness in their families; and, may HE comfort the family of the former officer as they contend with the negative press.

    Shame on the Utah Highway Patrol commanders!!!
    True. But it's also deeper than just the UHP. It's a big part of police culture in general. The officers having troubles are afraid to go get help because if you do, it can kill your career or any chances for advancement. Then the supervisors don't want to believe there's a big problem unless it's so big it smacks them in the face. And sometimes a supervisor may not want to force an officer to get help because they don't want to ruin the officer's career. I'm not saying that any of this makes it right, but the traditional police culture feeds this kind of situation. What needs to happen is to break the cycle of keeping issues swept under the rug. What needs to happen is for it to be made culturally o.k. for an officer to ask for help. Officers should not have to worry about harming/losing their careers if they seek help or let anyone know they have issues. We need to realize that we have to take care of each other, because it's all of our safety that's at stake. I'd rather have an officer get psych. help and get better so that he can perform his duties better, than to make him feel he has to keep things bottled up and end up flipping out at some point because he can't cope.
    CHIRP! CHIRP!

  5. #5
    TXCharlie's Avatar
    TXCharlie is offline Former & Future Reserve Officer
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndianaFuzz View Post
    officers having troubles are afraid to go get help because if you do, it can kill your career or any chances for advancement
    I'd bet that is the primary reason more officers don't seek help. What is really needed is anonymous treatment where the patent's name is not disclosed except under the most dire circumstances.

    One company I used to work for had an outpatient mental/drug/alcohol treatment program like that - All they were supposed to ask for was a number to verify coverage, but even the doctors could not find out the patent's name if the patient didn't want to tell them - HR and the supervisors couldn't find out either. Only the plan administrators (the insurance company) had that information. The program won very high praise.

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  6. #6
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    Due process will grind away at a glacial pace, while the media spins in circles. It's a damn shame, obvious this former officer is in up to his ass for what he is charged with, but still too early for fingerpointing at others not directly involved.

    Police officers facing career ending problems need support, but sometimes they cannot be restored. There is that "line" crossed where the implicit trust is broken, and there is no turning back. To "narc" off a peer with a high risk problem, or to let it slide, is a decision we all dread to face, but stick around the job long enough you probably will have that decision dumped in your lap.

    Suicide: I'm not sure where the Mormons stand on suicide, but there is something called "atonement"........can anyone else comment...?

    Interesting he went to TX. Ted Bundy landed in FL, another death penalty State with a faster process. The courts will griind thru that too.
    Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous

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  7. #7
    PapaBear's Avatar
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    Don't have to worry about things dragging out, Smith died on Wednesday. I feel so sad for his family and for those of the victims'
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  8. #8
    IndianaFuzz's Avatar
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    And now no one will ever get to find out the answer to that all important question........why?
    CHIRP! CHIRP!

  9. #9
    CTR man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgtbear111 View Post
    Suicide: I'm not sure where the Mormons stand on suicide, but there is something called "atonement"........can anyone else comment...?
    No, we don't believe in suicide. Yes, he will have to atone for his sins. Especially for something as serious as this. He will be called, what I have heard, a son of perdition, though.

    Obviously, we do not know the full circumstances surrounding every suicide. Only the Lord knows all the details, and he it is who will judge our actions here on earth.

    When he does judge us, I feel he will take all things into consideration: our genetic and chemical makeup, our mental state, our intellectual capacity, the teachings we have received, the traditions of our fathers, our health, and so forth.
    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.js...004d82620a____

    Interesting thing mentioned though, just because the Trooper came from the state of Utah, does not necessarily mean that he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Even though that is the prevailing Christian religion of the state of Utah. I have heard that membership is somewhere around 70% of the population.


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  10. #10
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    I have come to believe that with the right set of circumstances, stresses, issues, time and place in life, anyone can "go off the deep end". There are almost always signs and signals that a person is in trouble and headed for a bad time. Friends, coworkers, and family for some reason frequently worry and even comment about it when it is happening but they choose to do nothing. Most of these people wish they had done something about it or at least talked to the person in question after the fact.
    I just wonder what the reason is for not doing something. Is it not wanting to get in someone else's business? Fear of alienation? Some of all of it? I have done both, chose to ignore the signs and tried to help. I never lost a friend by trying to help.
    I wonder how many of this guys friends/family/coworkers are wishing they had tried to do something? Maybe they did and it didn't help.
    Thoughts and prayers for the officer, his family and the family of his victims.
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  11. #11
    deputysykes's Avatar
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    I agree anyone can go "off the deepend" at a point in his/her life. However, people do it differently some become a hermit rather than a killer with no empathy. Sad and frustrating. Thoughts and prayers to the families left with pain and questions.
    I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.

  12. #12
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    chp7016 is offline Ret. Ca Highway Patrol Sgt
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    There's so much to be learned out of this case. Bear in mind, we've had four cop murder-suicides just in 2008, one in which the officer shot his two children before killing himself. This phenomenon is not, in general, new. Just one that departments would rather ignore, much as they do suicides.

    There remains such a tendency for departments to want to put "blinders" on and try to evade any hint that an officer is suffering because of his on-duty experiences. This guy was a stellar trooper and sergeant--considered one of the best on his department.

    When he drank and became suicidal, their answer was to arrest him, do an IA investigation, bang the gavel, and accept his resignation for "personal reasons."

    I'm left with the impression no one considered a psychological fitness-for-duty, a diagnosis, treatment, or anything. Their suicide prevention program is "It's all up to the officer."

    My God.

    So many questions. Most officers will write this soul off as a "bad cop," a "coward" (as I saw on another forum), a psycho, a dope-crazed fiend, etc.

    The Utah Highway Patrol needs to have their little toes roasted in the fire for turning their backs on this trooper when he most needed help.
    Badge of Life Suicide Prevention
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  13. #13
    deputysykes's Avatar
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    chp7016....4 posts and already a Countybear in the making. Welcome to the site.
    I'm not ruining your life, you are, and I'm just going to write a short story about it.

 

 

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