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UPDATE: Polk triple murder suspect David Smith in custody after Tennessee standoff dies | News

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UPDATE: Polk triple murder suspect David Smith in custody after Tennessee standoff dies

Knoxville, Tenn. (WTSP/WBIR) -- A man, accused of killing three people in Florida, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff in West Knox County.

Law enforcement had closed Parkwest Boulevard at Cedar Bluff during the standoff at the Days Inn but now have reopened the road.

David Eugene Smith is accused of killing three people in Lakeland, Fla., according to the Polk County Sheriff's Department.

The 27-year-old appears to have shot himself, and crews took him to a hospital, the Knox County Sheriff's Office said during a press conference. He was later pronounced dead at UT Medical Center.

GALLERY: SWAT standoff in Knoxville, Tennessee

"Dangerous situation" unfolds

At 9:44 a.m., Major Mike MacLean with the Knox County Sheriff's Office said Smith called 911, and identified himself as being wanted for murder. He also said he wanted to die, and wanted to commit suicide by police.

Major MacLean said it is very unusual for a suspect to call and tell authorities were he was and what he was intending. He called it a "very dangerous situation."

Patrol units immediately responded to the Days Inn and confirmed which room Smith was in, but did not make contact. The SWAT team arrived at 10:45 a.m. to take command of the situation and to begin negotiations with Smith. Officials set up a perimeter around the hotel and warned businesses and people in that area that there was a possible sniper situation.

Smith fired two shots from his motel room. No one was hit, but sheriff's deputies and Knoxville Police officers expanded the perimeter, and continued trying to get people in the area to a safe place or out of the area.

A woman named Marsha lived in a room the floor below where Smith was staying with her daughter. She said she could hear the gunshots from her living space.

"I told her [Marsha's daughter], we had to stay in the bathroom because it was cold and the air conditioning wasn't working in the room," Marsha said. "I didn't want her to know what was going on."

Crisis negotiators spoke with Smith for about two hours. Major MacLean said he made no demands. At 12:15 p.m., Smith broke off contact with negotiators, and refused to answer the phone.

At 1:20 p.m., the SWAT team fired tear gas into the motel room, and five minutes later, Smith was taken into custody. He was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and was transported by a waiting ambulance to UT Medical Center for treatment, where he later died.

No one else was hurt.

No shots were fired by the Knox County Sheriff's Office, but witnesses did hear several loud bangs when they fired the tear gas canisters.

VIDEO: WBIR: Polk murder suspect in custody following standoff in Tennessee


VIDEO: Press conference: Triple murder suspect arrested after standoff


3 found dead in Lakeland

Deputies said a 14-year-old girl found the bodies of her mother and two other people when she returned home from a ROTC trip on Monday at 9 p.m. Detectives in Florida said they believe the victims were killed sometime after 7 a.m. Saturday, May 24.

For the past two months, Smith had been living at the home where the bodies were found. He's related to one of the three victims, according the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Officials were told Smith, who was in the military, is delusional and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

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"We believe him to be exceptionally dangerous," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

Detectives said they believe Smith was traveling to Chattanooga where an ex-girlfriend lived.

"He refers to himself as 'Prince David'... he has a Star of David on his Facebook," Sheriff Judd added.

On his page, he posted "I hate evil, and I will not allow it on my planet."

Smith served in the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and Judd said Smith suffered from delusions brought on by PTSD.

An estimated 200,000-300,000 veterans coming home from recent wars are dealing with the disorder.

For help dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, veterans can look to the VA's National Center for PTSD or call the 24/7 Veterans Call Center at 877-WAR-VETS.

VIDEO: Polk Co. Sheriff's Office presser on 3 dead in Lakeland


Scene of Tuesday's standoff has deadly past

The motel where the standoff happened was the same place where an officer with the Knox County Sheriff's Office was fatally shot 30 years ago.

In March 1984, Detective James Kennedy was off duty when he went to investigate an auto theft and domestic disturbance at what was then called the Primeway inn.

Kennedy and another detective knocked on the door of one of the rooms and began to question a woman. A man inside the room shot at the pair, hitting Kennedy several times. The detective died.

A report from 1984 says the man who shot and killed him was wanted in two other states.


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