HENDERSON COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Authorities in Henderson County were familiar with 31-year-old Casey Daniel Smith, since he had been arrested multiple times this year. But his actions this past weekend shocked lawmen.
Smith was shot dead in a Garland Walmart after he ran at an off-duty officer with a crowbar, according to Garland Police Public Information Officer Joe Harn.
"When this all first happened, all we knew was we had a shoplifter who swung a crowbar at an officer. It wasn't until later when we found out who he was," he said.
When Garland officers started putting the pieces together, they learned Smith had committed a series of violent crimes in the past two days and victims included peace officers.
"Oh, we all knew him and have dealt with him before, but we never had this kind of trouble out of him," Eustace Police Chief Kenneth Holder said Monday.
Holder said one of his officers was patrolling Saturday when he attempted to make a traffic stop on a vehicle that came back as stolen.
Holder said the driver did not stop on the side of the road. Instead, he slammed on his brakes, put the pickup into reverse and rammed the officer.
"He sped away and my officer continued chasing him, until Smith dropped off his wife and headed back toward my officer. That time he tried to ram him head on and my officer swerved into a ditch," he said.
Holder said video of the ordeal shows the couple throwing a bag of methamphetamines and needles out of the window before Smith's wife Brandi got out of the vehicle.
"There's no doubt that they had just shot up," he said.
Holder said Smith continued driving until he wrecked the truck in a field near County Road 2919 and fled on foot.
"The Henderson County Sheriff's Office sent out some dogs, and we were tracking him when we got a call to help the sheriff's office out on an aggravated assault on an elderly female that just occurred," he said.
Holder said it didn't take law enforcement long for them to know they were looking for Smith in the new case where the 82-year-old woman had been beaten and her Cadillac stolen.
But the trail went cold, and Smith was nowhere to be found. That is, until he showed up in the Garland store shoplifting.
Harn said the Garland officer attempted to stop Smith from leaving the store. After the Garland officer used a Taser on Smith, the two men went back into the store. Then, Smith swung a large crowbar at the officer, barely missing him.
"The officer warned the man to stop, he did not and the officer fired his pistol at the man, striking him one time," he said.
Harn said as the investigation into the shooting was underway, officers found the stolen car from Henderson County and learned the man's identity.
Harn said the 19-year-veteran officer is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
"This is standard policy when an officer is involved in a shooting, " he said.
Judicial records indicate Smith has been arrested multiple times and was wanted at the time of the traffic stop in Eustace.
Holder said this proves there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop for peace officers. At any time, they can encounter people who are determined not to go to jail.
"I feel bad for the officer who is taking all of the criticism in Garland for shooting a shoplifter. What these people don't know is this guy could have killed multiple people, including my officer, here in my area Saturday. I hate that he lost his life, but I'm glad he didn't kill anyone," he said.
Smith's wife was charged with felony evading and possession of a controlled substance. Holder arrested her Saturday. She has since been released on bonds totaling $23,000.