Suspect in North Texas shooting spree dies at hospital

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by By JASON WHITELY / WFAA-TV

kvue.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 2:02 PM

Freeway Search

Jason Whitely reports

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DALLAS - A former Utah Highway patrol trooper suspected in a series of deadly roadside attacks in Dallas and Garland died Christmas Eve as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Investigators said Brian G. Smith, 37, had shot himself in the head during a confrontation with Garland police Monday night more than six hours after a roadway shooting spree in which two motorists were killed and a third was injured.

Smith died Wednesday night at Parkland Memorial Hospital, said nursing supervisor Arthur Clarke. Smith had been in critical condition on life support.

He was surrounded by family members who had been maintaining a vigil at the hospital.

Earlier on Christmas Eve, police shut down the westbound lanes of LBJ Freeway near Garland Road to search for evidence linked to the Monday shootings.

Dallas officers, detectives and crime scene investigators even went down to their hands and knees at times looking for bullet casings on the roadway they may have missed during their initial review.

"We may have found some evidence, we're trying to determine whether we can link it to the crime that occurred two days ago," explained Lt. Craig Miller, Dallas Police.

DPD suspects Brian G. Smith, 37, a former Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant, opened fire at three vehicles Monday, killing the driver of a United Van Lines truck, William Miller, 42.

Garland Police now feel confident Smith likely killed another motorist, Jorge Lopez, 20, nearby - though ballistics tests have yet to prove it.

"He is a good suspect," said Officer Joe Harn. "Have we got enough that we would file charges on him today for our murder? Not right this minute but again we think he is a good suspect in our case."

Smith's motive remains a mystery.

He quit the Utah Highway Patrol after getting caught abusing alcohol and drugs. An official report by the Utah Peace Officers Standards and Training said Smith began using drugs and alcohol after getting rear-ended on duty writing a ticket.

The father of five spiraled further out of control, the report said, even put a gun to his head in his patrol car with Michael Peterson, a personal friend and clergyman in the front seat.

"He didn't seem like he was thinking clearly but was able to help him out and prevent that from happening," remembered Peterson.

Smith moved his family to north Texas immediately afterwards taking a job with IBM.

Officer Harn said Smith's wife called Keller police, where they live, to report her husband was suicidal and driving around with a gun. Keller police evidently pinpointed Smith's cell phone using transmission towers in Garland.

Minutes later, a Garland police officer spotted Smith's car and stopped him.

Three hours later, still surrounded by SWAT, Smith shot himself in the head.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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