Highway Shooting Suspect Also Accused in Robberies - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Highway Shooting Suspect Also Accused in Robberies

Ex-Utah trooper shot himself during standoff in Garland



    Highway Shooting Suspect Also Accused in Robberies
    Brian Smith was in critical condition Tuesday night at a Dallas hospital.

    Police say a former Utah state trooper who is suspected of shooting and killing a big rig driver in Dallas was sought on robbery and burglary warrants.

    Garland police say 37-year-old Brian Smith, of Keller, shot himself during a standoff with Garland police early Tuesday morning. He was in critical condition Tuesday night at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

    Dallas police said Tuesday that preliminary results from ballistics tests indicated Smith shot and killed the driver of a big rig in Dallas on Monday evening. Dallas police Lt. Craig Miller said they connected Smith to the killing because the bullets from the standoff were a match. The weapon was a high-caliber semiautomatic handgun, Miller said.

    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.

    Highway Shooting Suspect Also Accused in Robberies

    [DFW] Highway Shooting Suspect Also Accused in Robberies
    Police say the former Utah state trooper was being sought on robbery and burglary warrants.
    (Published Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008)

    Smith is also a suspect in at least two robberies and a series of car break-ins in Tarrant County.

    Garland officers pulled him over Monday night for outstanding warrants. Lt. Brenda Slovak, of Keller police, said Keller dispatchers tracked Smith's location to Garland and called Garland officers to arrest him.

    They did not know at the time that he may be connected to the highway shootings, she said.

    Smith's next-door neighbors said they were shocked, saying he had a good job as a computer salesman and seemed like a stable, proud father of five.

    "I'm blown away," his neighbor said. "I can't believe it."

    He and his wife said Smith brought them Christmas cookies last week. They said Smith was a friendly, outgoing, "typical, easy-going neighbor."

    "I'm just speechless," the wife said. "You just never know."

    Garland police were notified Monday by police in Keller to be on the lookout for Smith. Keller police said they believed that Smith was armed, suicidal and was driving a dark-colored Honda CRV. Shortly after 9 p.m., a Garland police officer located the vehicle driven by Smith stopped in the roadway on state Highway 66 at Commerce Street. 

    Smith was sitting inside the vehicle and did not respond to any of the officer's commands, so the SWAT Team was called to try to take Smith into custody, police said.

    Garland police said they heard a gunshot  from inside the vehicle shortly after 12 a.m. as Smith, after several hours of not responding to police efforts to contact him, attempted to drive away.

    Southlake police said a warrant for aggravated robbery was issued for Smith on Dec. 17. Police said he was suspected of spraying pepper spray in the woman's face while he grabbed her purse in a Southlake parking lot. Southlake police officer Mike Bedrich said Smith is shown using the woman's stolen credit cards on surveillance video.

    Police in Keller and Southlake said he was also suspected in several car break-ins, and Garland police said he is the suspect in the robbery of a grocery store pharmacy.

    Utah Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Nigbur said Smith had been a trooper since 1996, mainly in the Salt Lake City area.

    Nigbur said Smith had some personal issues and that "law enforcement was not an option for him at the time." Nigbur declined to elaborate.

    Smith was a sergeant when he resigned from the Utah Highway Patrol on May 2 after allegations of prescription drug use, theft and driving a marked unit under the influence surfaced. The highway patrol said Smith threatened to commit suicide the night the allegations surfaced.