Suspect in Lakeland triple-murder dead following Tennessee stand - FOX 35 News Orlando

Suspect in Lakeland triple-murder dead following Tennessee standoff

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POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - Authorities in East Tennessee say the suspect in a triple homicide in Florida is dead.

David Eugene Smith was pronounced dead at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The cause of death appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.   An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, authorities say.

Knox County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Eddie Biggs told the Knoxville News Sentinel that Smith called 911 Tuesday morning to say he was the man wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of two women and a man near Lakeland, Florida, over the weekend.

According to Biggs, Smith said he wanted to die at the hands of law enforcement.

SWAT members surrounded the Knox County motel where Smith was staying on Tuesday. At some point, Smith fired shots, including one at himself. Biggs says the SWAT officers did not fire.

A manhunt had been underway for Smith, 27, ever since a teenager discovered her mother murdered. Investigators say Danyala "Diamond" Smith, who lived at the home with Smith, was fatally shot, along with Nikosi Williams and Miranda Mims.

"It was a very violent scene," said Polk County Sheriff Sheriff Grady Judd.

According to Smith’s mother, her son was in the military and suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and paranoia.

"His mother said he thinks he lives in another dimension," Judd added.

Investigators say the murders could have happened anytime between Saturday night and Monday night, when their bodies were discovered.

Investigators have said Tennessee was a likely destination for Smith, because his high school girlfriend lived in that area.

Photo courtesy of Knoxville News Sentinel.

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