Deputy Sheriff Joe Smith, Jr.

Deputy Sheriff Joe Smith, Jr.

Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, North Carolina

End of Watch Saturday, January 5, 1974

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Joe Smith, Jr.

Deputy Joe Smith was shot and killed by a hitchhiker while giving directions to a truck driver around 1:30 a.m.

The truck driver had picked up the hitchhiker, a soldier from nearby Fort Bragg.

While Deputy Smith sat in his patrol car at the 401 Truck O'Tel on U.S. 401 south of Fayetteville, the suspect exited the truck and shot him in the head. The suspect then stole Deputy Smith's patrol car and wrecked it while being pursued by police. The suspect fled on foot into a residential area and was captured minutes later.

There was no motive for the murder. The suspect was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison on April 1, 1974. He was paroled on July 8, 1988.

Deputy Smith was a United States Air Force veteran and had served with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office for two years. He was survived by his wife and five children.


  • Age 41
  • Tour 2 years
  • Badge Not available
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .22 caliber
  • Offender Paroled in 1988


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Will always be remembered.

Retired First Sergeant Thomas Webb
New York State Police - Troop "D"

December 17, 2022

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