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Chief of Police Charles R. Smith | Piedmont Police Department, Alabama Piedmont Police Department, Alabama

Chief of Police

Charles R. Smith

Piedmont Police Department, Alabama

End of Watch: Sunday, October 29, 1933

Bio & Incident Details

Age: 51

Tour: Not available

Badge # Not available

Cause: Gunfire

Incident Date: 10/28/1933

Weapon: Shotgun

Offender: Committed suicide

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Chief Smith was shot and killed while investigating a call at a local house. As he and another officer left the house they observed a man holding a shotgun. Chief Smith asked the man what he was doing and was answered with gunfire. He was struck by two blasts from the shotgun. Both officers returned fire but did not strike the suspect. Chief Smith was taken to a doctor but died the following day.

The man was arrested a short time later. The suspect committed suicide by hanging himself with bed sheets following his preliminary hearing.

On August 27, 1934, Officer F. Augusta Kimberly was shot and killed in the line of duty in the same location.

Chief Smith was survived by his two sisters.

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Chief Smith was killed by my Great-uncle, Angram Coker, who was my grandfather's brother. I did not hear the true story of what had happened to Angram until the mid-1970s, when I was in my late teens.

Angram is buried in my grandparent's cemetery plot in the cemetery in Piedmont, not in the Coker family plot. I asked Granddad one day why Angram was not in his parents' plot and Granddad told me the story of what had happened.

Angram's parents had disowned him after the murder, and Granddad and Grandmom allowed him to be buried in their plot. Granddad and Angram's father was Piedmont's optometrist, and good friends with Chief Smith. Ironically, Chief Smith is buried directly across a narrow street from the man who murdered him. Standing on this street you can see both headstones at the same time.

It is very unfortunate what happened to Chief Smith. The Coker family extended their heart felt apologies and sympathies to the family of Chief Smith. In one final twist, it is still rumored in Piedmont that Angram was hung in his cell by Piedmont police officers, that he did not commit suicide. Either way, it saved Calhoun County and Piedmont the expense of a trial.

David Phillips
July 27, 2016

 

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