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Stephen Richard SMITH





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Police officer - Vigilante cop linked to shootings of suspected criminals
Number of victims: 3 +
Date of murders: 1982 - 1986
Date of birth: ???
Victims profile: Men (suspected criminals)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: San Antonio, Texas, USA
Status: Killed by fellow officer on August 17, 1986

A policeman turned homicidal vigilante in San Antonio, Texas, Stephen Smith was not exposed until his death, at the hands of a one-time friend and former patrol partner. The shooting of one police officer by another is guaranteed to rate headlines, but initial reports paled in comparison to statements from Smith's killer, charging that he had been forced to kill in self-defense, thereby preventing scheduled acts of murder meant to launch a local reign of terror.

By the date of his death, on August 18, 1986, Stephen Smith was already skating on thin ice as a guardian of law and order. In March, he had been indicted on charges of brutality stemming from the arrest of a shoplifting suspect on August 7, 1985. According to eyewitnesses, Smith had assaulted the 27-year-old subject without provocation, beating him to the ground, afterward brawling with bystanders who sought to intervene and help his victim. The incident was not Smith's first encounter with an allegation of excessive force; suspended after his indictment, by August 1986 he was a peace officer in name only.

Furious at his superiors for their "lack of support," Smith allegedly planned to assassinate Bexar County's district attorney, Sam Millsap, along with various high ranking members of the police department. A search of Smith's home, after his death, revealed an arsenal of eighteen pistols, five shotguns, six rifles, and at least 100,000 rounds of ammunition.

In retrospect, he was also suspected as the author of recent anonymous letters, mailed to newspapers and public officials, accusing department leaders of child molestation and other crimes.

Completely unhinged by the evening of August 17, 1986, Smith quarreled bitterly with his wife, and she called on a mutual friend, Patrolman Farrell Tucker, for help. Tucker visited Smith's apartment, where he was informed - by Smith's wife - of the murder schemes in progress. He was also told that Mrs. Smith had seen her husband, while off duty, beat and murder several persons he suspected of criminal activity. (Smith was already suspect in the December 1982 slaying of Terrnell Folsom, gunned down by persons unknown while breaking into a parked car, but there was insufficient evidence for an indictment.)

On August 18, Tucker warned Smith's alleged targets of their potential danger. That night, wearing a concealed microphone and hidden pistol, Tucker met with Smith to hear his former partner's story. Rather than denying anything, Smith drew a .45 and threatened Tucker's life. Smith's momentary hesitation granted Tucker time to reach his gun, and five shots fired at point-blank range eliminated Smith as any kind of threat.

In retrospect, authorities believe that Stephen Smith was probably responsible for a 1983 sniper attack on the home of Deputy Police Chief Robert Heuck, as well as the 1985 firebombing of Police Chief Frank Hoyack's residence. Investigations are continuing in an attempt to trace the other victims mentioned by Smith's wife.

Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial Killers - Hunting Humans



MO: Vigilante cop linked to shootings of suspected criminals

DISPOSITION: Killed by fellow officer, Aug. 17, 1986.



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