The Smith County Sheriff's Office investigation into the Feb. 7 shooting of Precinct 4 Constable John Smith has been closed, and the case has been classified as an attempted suicide. 

But the Tyler Morning Telegraph has learned another law enforcement agency is launching its own investigation, as Smith recovers in a hospital bed after undergoing surgery Monday afternoon. 

The newspaper obtained the sheriff's case file, including the 911 call made by Smith's wife Liz, dash-cam video and the notes from deputies on the scene, as well as those of the investigators who worked the case. 

Though the shooting incident has been closed, another investigation will be launched by the Smith County Fire Marshal's Office into whether Smith's wife, Liz, a school resource officer in Lindale, committed a violation of the Brady Law and made untrue statements about the shooting.

Fire Marshal Jay Brooks, whose office holds the commissions of the Lindale School District resource officers, said the investigation was necessary to maintain the integrity of his office. 

Mrs. Smith said she would be cooperating with the investigation. 

She talked with the newspaper Tuesday and said some of the sheriff's report was inaccurate. Constable Smith would not talk with the newspaper. 

"Some of the statements made by others (in the report) about things I said were not true; I don't know where they got some of that," she said. 

But Sheriff Larry Smith, no relation to the constable and his wife, said he stands behind the investigation and the final disposition of the case. 

"I am not interviewing on the matter anymore. The (Freedom of Information) documents speak for themselves," he said in a text message Tuesday afternoon.  

The files provided by the sheriff's office included the 911 call made by Mrs. Smith the night of the shooting. 

"I need someone at my house. I think my husband has shot himself. Please hurry. I just got home, and there's a lot of blood. He's laying in the driveway. ... His truck is blocking the driveway," she said.

DISCREPANCIES

In a video interview about the incident with the newspaper last month, Smith said he believed the shooting was the result of an accident with the gun falling and the hammer striking a hard surface, causing the gun to fire. 

However, the reports released from the sheriff's office show the gun found next to Smith was in a cocked position and that it had been fired twice, not once. 

When asked in the earlier interview if the shooting was an intentional act, Smith and his wife both said they did not believe he shot himself on purpose. 

In the video, the couple talked about a planned date night that evening and that they had only had a small argument on the phone. But during the 911 call and interviews with detectives, Mrs. Smith said they had been fighting all day and her husband had been drinking. According to the report, she told investigators her husband had stopped taking Testosterone about a month prior to the shooting and had been aggressive and mean, but she said he had never hit her or become violent with her. 

The night of the shooting, Mrs. Smith said she left the home after her husband had scared the children by peeling out in the driveway. 

She reportedly went to a friend's home, and during her time there, she received numerous phone calls and texts from her husband. 

One such message told her not to come home. 

"I want you to leave me. ... Don't come home," the constable told his wife, she recounted to detectives. 

Mrs. Smith said she decided to go home and took her children with her. When she arrived, she found the gate to the property closed and her husband's pickup blocking the gate.

Mrs. Smith told detectives she drove through another driveway to the residence in the Starrville community and found Smith on the ground suffering from what appeared to be a gunshot wound. 

Responding deputies found Smith with a gunshot wound to the right side of his head, lying in a pool of his own blood and vomit. They noted the strong odor of alcohol and several empty beer cans strewn around the property.

EVIDENCE 

After Smith was transported to East Texas Medical Center, crime scene technicians arrived at the residence and found a .357 Sig Sauer handgun that had been fired twice. The first round was fired into the ground, and the second struck Smith in the head, their investigation determined. 

The following day, Smith regained consciousness and told detectives he would be going to ETMC Behavioral Health Center because he shot himself, according to the report.

"I screwed up guys, and I'm sorry to have to put you through this," Smith reportedly told detectives.

But later, when asked if he shot himself, Smith said, "I don't remember."

Investigators found text messages to and from Smith and his wife on his phone prior to and after Feb. 7, but no text messages that day. 

"I believe the messages on Feb. 7 were deleted," the detective stated in his report. 

Mrs. Smith did not have answers for why there were no messages on the phone, but she did say she wished her husband would talk about the event and what happened.

Mrs. Smith said some of the events of Feb. 7 were a blur, but she stands by her earlier story that the fight was a minor one and she was not leaving her husband. 

"We didn't take anything with us. We just left, and then we went home where I found him shot," she said.

DEDICATED LAWMAN

Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said he has known Constable Smith for 20 years and thinks highly of him. 

"He has put his life on the line for the people of this county on more than one occasion. There is nothing in the investigation that would indicate criminal behavior on the part of John Smith, which would require action by my office," he said.

Bingham said he wishes the constable a speedy recovery and said there is nothing prohibiting him from carrying a firearm and performing his duties as a constable once he is able to return to work.

Mrs. Smith said she just wants her husband to disclose what led to the shooting. 

"My goal in this whole thing is to help him, but I can't help him if he doesn't help himself. I want him to get help," she said.

 
 

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