Police: Husband Confesses to Shooting Wife in UTSW Parking Garage

Family says woman was victim of family violence, was divorcing husband

By Frank Heinz
|  Wednesday, Jan 9, 2013  |  Updated 7:33 PM CDT
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In an arrest warrant affidavit Ferdinand Smith confessed to police he shot his wife Karen Smith in a UT Southwestern South Campus parking garage Tuesday night.

Ray Villeda, NBC 5 News

In an arrest warrant affidavit Ferdinand Smith confessed to police he shot his wife Karen Smith in a UT Southwestern South Campus parking garage Tuesday night.

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Murdered Woman Was a Previous Victim of Violence

Dallas police said this isn't the first time Karen Smith has been a victim of violence. Police records show that only a month ago the woman was strangled to the point of unconsciousness in her driveway.

UTSW Victim Identified, One Person in Custody

One person is in custody after a woman was killed in a UT Southwestern parking garage in Dallas.
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An armed security guard told police he became enraged shortly before he shot and killed the mother of his three children inside a parking garage Tuesday night, according to an arrest warrant.

Officers near a UT Southwestern South Campus parking garage reported hearing several gunshots at about 7:30 p.m. A short time later, officers found 40-year-old UTSW executive assistant Karen Smith dead of apparent gunshot wounds to her upper body and head.

Dallas and campus police searched for the shooter for more than three hours.

Detectives learned Smith was strangled to the point of unconsciousness in her driveway in a domestic violence incident in December.

That report led police to the Duncanville address of her estranged husband, 41-year-old Ferdinand Glen Smith. He was arrested without incident at about 3:30 a.m. on an outstanding family violence warrant.

According to his arrest warrant, Smith said in an interview with detectives that he had gone to his wife's work address and waited in the parking garage for her to get off work. He said he then confronted her, and they argued about their marital problems. He said he became enraged and shot and killed her with the duty weapon that he uses as a security officer. (Read the entire arrest warrant affidavit here.)

Smith was a security guard for Faith Family Academy, where part of his responsibilities included keeping children safe. The school's superintendent, Mollie Savage, told NBC 5 that their guards are unarmed but said that some of the guards work multiple jobs, some of which may require them to be armed.

"Faith Family Academy is grieving the acts of family violence which took the life of one of our friends," Savage said in a statement. "It is with a heavy heart we as a school are dealing with the incidents that have occurred over these past 24 hours, and the family will remain in our thoughts and prayers. Faith Family Academy remains committed to the security of its students, staff and community."

Karen Smith's stepfather, Lewis Horton, told NBC 5 that the couple had three children, ages 18, 14 and 11. He said his stepdaughter had filed a stay-away order against her husband on Dec. 27, 2012.

Horton said the couple recently had tried to reconcile, but she decided to permanently end the relationship after the domestic violence incident.

Ferdinand Smith is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda, Andres Gutierrez and Kendra Lyn contributed to this report.

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