KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The man suspected of killing three people at a Polk County home has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound he suffered during a standoff with a SWAT team today in East Tennessee, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office said.
David Eugene Smith, 27, was suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest when he was taken into custody, authorities said. He was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he later died. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.
Smith was captured in Knoxville, Tenn. after he called 911 saying he wanted to die at the hands of law enforcement, authorities said.
Smith told a dispatcher he was the man wanted in the slayings and said he was staying at a Days Inn in Knox County, where he holed up during a SWAT standoff that lasted more than two hours, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Eddie Biggs told the Knoxville News Sentinel.
According to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, SWAT officers went to the motel at around 10:45 a.m. Negotiators communicated with Smith before losing contact with him at about 12:15. Smith fired multiple shots through the window during the standoff.
At 1:20 p.m., officers gassed the motel room and entered. Smith was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Hospital spokesman Jim Ragonese said he could not answer any questions about Smith. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office later posted on their website that Smith had died.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said earlier that the search for Smith began after the 14-year-old daughter of one of the victims discovered three bodies in her home on Monday after returning from a weekend ROTC event.
Judd said the 27-year-old Smith calls himself “Prince David” and is delusional.
One of the victims was Smith’s sister, 31-year-old Danyala Smith. The other two were 25-year-old Nikosi Williams and 28-year-old Miranda Mims, said Polk County sheriff’s spokeswoman Donna Wood.
Danyala Smith and Mims lived together in the home where all three were killed, Wood said. Authorities are still looking into the motive. Polk County deputies were on their way to Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon.
Wood said Smith had not yet been charged in Florida.
This report contains information from The Associated Press.