Standoff in Knoxville, reportedly involving Polk suspect. Courtesy Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel
Knoxville standoff. Courtesy Michael Patrick/Knoxville News Sentinel
David Eugene Smith, wanted in connection to a Lakeland triple murder (Courtesy PCSO)
Sheriff Judd discusses the case.
LAKELAND (FOX 13) -
David Smith, the suspect wanted in connection with the deaths of three people in Polk County, has been pronounced dead, the Knox County Sheriff reported late Monday afternoon.
They say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Smith was suspected of killing three people in a South Lakeland home over the holiday weekend. He then fled to Knoxville, Tennessee.
Sheriff Grady Judd announced Monday morning that a SWAT situation was underway "in another state" with the goal of capturing Smith.
It took place at a motel in Knoxville, Tennessee. Media outlets there reported the standoff ended after deputies fired tear gas and stormed his room.
A manhunt had been underway for Smith, 27, since a teenager discovered her mother murdered Sunday night. Investigators say Danyala 'Diamond' Smith, who lived at the home with Smith, was fatally shot, along with Nikosi Williams and Miranda Mims.
"It was a very violent scene," Sheriff Judd said.
According to Smith’s mother, he was in the military, and was very well-trained after serving with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan and Iraq. He suffers from Post-traumatic stress disorder and paranoia, and was considered to be delusional.
"His mother said he thinks he lives in another dimension," Judd added.
Judd said Smith, who goes by "Davie," also refers to himself as "Prince David" on his Facebook page. That page was last updated on Saturday with a post that reads, "2 my adulteress wife now you know better. I just don't know why a being so close to me would hide it and play games. When I'm me and know a lot. David 7,7 well I will see you."
Investigators say the murders could have happened anytime between Saturday night -- when each of the victims was last heard from -- and Monday night, when their bodies were discovered.
According to Sheriff Judd, one of the victims’ daughters found them around 9 p.m. The 14-year-old is a member of the George Jenkins High ROTC program, and was being dropped off by her sergeant major from a Memorial Day weekend away. She ran back outside to tell the sergeant, who called in the emergency.
Smith's father told investigators that his son had given him a hug and told him he loved him -- which was apparently unusual behavior for him -- on Saturday, before taking off and leaving some of his personal documents and belongings behind.
Investigators has said Tennessee was a likely destination for Smith because his high school girlfriend lived in that area.
Authorities say an autopsy is planned for Smith.
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