According to Jackson County Sheriff David Lucas, at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 26, Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Staggs was on patrol in the Swifton area and had just completed a check of a hay farm shop and equipment on County road 632.
Lucas says as Staggs was leaving the area, a white male, later identified as Smith stepped out in the middle of the road and at that time raised what appeared to be a long gun (rifle).
According to a press release, Staggs began backing up in his patrol car to get some distance between himself and Smith when Smith fired the weapon into the windshield of the police cruiser. Staggs took cover and initiated his blue lights and at that point Smith raised his hands and began walking toward the officer.
Police arrested smith and recovered his weapon which turned out to be a BB rifle.
According to police, Smith stated that he was watching the shop for the owner because of some thefts.
“This is the second incident where deputies were mistakenly shot at while on patrol and checking properties in the county due to vigilantism, or someone just attempting to taking the law into their own hands," said Lucas. "In both instances, had my officers not been very observant of the situation, the subjects could have very well been killed, and for what? If that would have happened, the officer would have had to live with the thought that he killed an innocent person."
Smith was transported to the Jackson County Jail and appeared in Newport District court and arraigned on charges of Aggravated Assault a Class D Felony, Criminal Mischief a Class A Misdemeanor, and Public Intoxication a Class A Misdemeanor. His bond was set at $250,000 and he was ordered to appear in Jackson County Circuit Court on August 7, 2013.
"I understand that theft is a big problem and my officers are out there working. What we need from the citizen’s is not to take matters in their own hands or be a vigilantly but to be a good witness and call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office," said Lucas. "In these two incidents, we were lucky that someone was not killed or seriously injured. We may not be so lucky next time."