Eaton County, MI – Authorities have released dashcam and bodycam footage of the fatal shooting of a wanted felon who led police on a chase, and then rammed his pickup truck into two police vehicles (video below).
The Lansing State Journal reported that incident occurred after a detective and a deputy attempted to serve a search warrant and felony arrest warrant at Robert Claude Smith’s home on Nov. 28.
The warrants stemmed from a driving under the influence arrest by Michigan Department of Natural Resource (DNR) officers on Nov. 26, when officers found a gun in the possession of the convicted felon.
Smith, 64, told the DNR officers that he “would not be afraid to commit gun violence, and that he had nothing to lose,” according to a press release.
The officers saw Smith leaving the residence as they arrived, and followed him.
Dashcam video showed police pursuing Smith’s pickup truck on a rural road.
Then Smith stopped, and turned the truck around so he was facing the officers and their vehicles head on.
In the video, the officer wearing the bodycam described the scene to his dispatcher, and then jumped out of his police cruiser, gun drawn, and ordered the suspect to shut the car off, multiple times.
“He’s peeling out. He’s turning northbound. He’s about ready to come right at me,” the officer told the dispatcher.
“He’s going southbound on Wilcox in reverse. And he’s coming at us. S**t, s**t!” the officer said.
In the video, Smith gunned the engine, and drove straight at the police officer, who jumped to the side of the road and out of the way.
The officer opened fire on the suspect just as he slammed into the police car.
Smith rammed the pickup truck head-on into the officer’s vehicle, pushing the police SUV backwards across the road and into another patrol vehicle.
The second patrol vehicle was pushed back and hit the other officer on the scene, and that officer opened fire on Smith, too.
Smith’s foot appeared to be stuck on the gas pedal, as officers in the video questioned whether Smith had been hit or not. His truck continued to push against the police SUV while smoke began streaming from its engine.
“His foot is on the gas and he’s still peeling into my patrol car,” the officer told the dispatcher.
The bodycam showed the first officer telling the injured officer to get behind him, as they radioed for additional help.
Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon reviewed the shooting and determined the officer’s actions were justified. Each officer fired eight rounds, Siemon told the Lansing State Journal.
Smith died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Siemon told the Lansing State Journal that Smith’s blood alcohol content at the time of his death was .19.
The state police said the detective who was injured in the incident had only minor injuries.
Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich said an internal review was in progress, but said the officers “acted with the only reasonable means available to avert a reasonable threat of death and/or serious bodily injury.”
You can see the video of the incident below:
CORRECTION: The original version of this story contained details from a separate officer-involved shooting on the same day. Those unrelated details have been removed.