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Hero Down: Birmingham PD Officer Randall Smith Dies From Complications After Being Shot 25 Years Ago

Homewood, AL – Retired Birmingham Police Department (BPD) Officer Randall “Randy” Smith died in the line of duty on Dec. 28 due to complications caused by an inadvertent gunshot wound he suffered while rescuing a child in 1995.

Officer Smith was one of several BPD officers who responded to a report of a domestic disturbance in Ensley at approximately 3 a.m. on March 25, 1995, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Police learned that an armed suspect was inside the home with a toddler, so they went inside to rescue the child.

Officer Smith was able to scoop up the baby and was making his way out of the house just as a fellow officer was heading inside, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

They nearly collided, at which point the second officer inadvertently fired his weapon, shooting Officer Smith in the head.

Officer Smith, an eight-year veteran-of-the-force, was flown to University Hospital, where he endured a lengthy surgery, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

He remained in a coma for weeks afterwards.

The shooting left Officer Smith blind in one eye, deaf in one ear, and with a persistent slowness in his speech, according to his obituary.

“However, Randy’s spirit, optimism, and love for others remained unharmed,” the tribute read.

Officer Smith, a U.S. Army veteran, was unable to return to duty and ultimately retired from the BPD in 1996, WIAT reported.

The medical examiner concluded Officer Smith died on Dec. 28 after falling at his home, and that his gunshot wound was a contributing factor in his death, WIAT reported.

Officer Smith’s family described him as a “true hero” who “enjoyed investing his time and giving back to others by visiting patients at the Lakeshore Foundation and the Alabama Head Injury Foundation [and] sharing his story of hope and survival,” according to his obituary.

He was the recipient of the Homewood mayor’s distinguished Quality of Life Award, and was also appointed as grand marshal of the “We Love Homewood” parade in 2008.

Officer Smith, 63, leaves behind his three adult children, as well as his mother, brother, two grandchildren, and his former wife.

“Randy was very involved with his family and loved spending time with his children and grandchildren,” his obituary read.

Officer Smith was laid to rest on Jan. 2.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Birmingham Police Department Officer Randall “Randy” Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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