Kodak, TN – An off-duty Red Bank police officer was fatally shot by his wife during an argument on Saturday night.
Court documents said that police were called to the 3000-block of Winfield Dunn Parkway at about 7:23 pm on Feb. 1, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Responding Sevierville police officers found 41-year-old Red Bank Police Officer James “Chip” Smith lying on his back on the lawn with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
Court records said that Officer Smith’s wife, 37-year-old Melissa Smith, was on the ground beside him holding her hands to his abdomen when police arrived, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Officer Smith was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center where he died.
Melissa Smith was taking to the Sevierville Police Department and questioned by investigators, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
She told police that she and her husband, who are both from Soddy Daisy, had been at the Old Tennessee Distillery Co. for about two hours earlier in the evening.
When they left the bar, she told police that she and Officer Smith began arguing in the car, according to the Chattanooga Free Press.
Melissa Smith told investigators that the fight escalated to the point where her husband pulled the car over into a parking lot.
Court documents said that Officer Smith and his wife got out of their vehicle and continued arguing.
That’s when Melissa Smith returned to the vehicle, grabbed a handgun, and shot her husband in the abdomen at point-blank range, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Police said Melissa Smith confessed to shooting Officer Smith.
Officers recovered a .380 semi-automatic pistol at the scene, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Melissa Smith was arrested and booked into the Sevier County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
Tributes to the murdered officer began appearing on social media soon as news of his death became public, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
“Chip was both an on duty and off duty friend to many of us here at HCEMS, and we are devastated by the news of his death. Chip was also a well known individual in the Soddy Daisy community, and he will be mourned by many. Godspeed Brother,” the Hamilton County Emergency Medical Service wrote.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond posted a note of condolence of its official Facebook page that said Officer Smith was a former Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy.
“We are saddened by the loss of a fellow officer in such tragic circumstances,” Sheriff Hammond wrote. “Our hearts go out to Chief Seymour and our brothers in blue at the Red Bank Police Department during this very difficult time. Chip has served his community for many years as both a volunteer fireman and law enforcement officer. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
The Chattanooga Free Press reported that Officer Smith also previously served on the Chattanooga Police Department and the Soddy Daisy Police Department.