Deputy Sheriff James Edward "Ed" Smith

Deputy Sheriff James Edward "Ed" Smith

Pinal County Sheriff's Office, Arizona

End of Watch Tuesday, August 3, 1948

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James Edward "Ed" Smith

Deputy Ed Smith was shot and killed by a man who had escaped from the Pinal County Jail the day before.

Deputy Smith had gone to the Joe Lewis Heights area in Eloy to look for a subject who had escaped the day before. As he reached the door of the Dandy Tavern, the subject fired a shotgun from the roof, hitting Smith in the face and knocking him down. A second shot hit Smith in the chest, and he died before help arrived. The suspect and a companion, 20, were charged with murder. His companion gave him the shotgun and helped him get on the roof.

The subjects were convicted and received a life sentence. On August 30, 1957, the subject escaped from prison but was captured. His companion was paroled in September of 1970. In April of 1971, he kidnapped a 19-year-old girl in Phoenix. The girl was standing next to the street in front of a post office on Buckeye Road when the suspect attacked her and dragged her into his car. A policeman driving by saw the girl struggling to get out of the car and arrested the suspect. The girl would not press charges, and the suspect was released. On September 14, 1978, he was stabbed to death in Phoenix. As of April 1971, the killer was still in prison.

Deputy Smith was an Eloy Justice of the Peace before moving to Oregon, where he served as a deputy sheriff. He had only served with the Pinal County Sheriff's Office for only a month. He was survived by his wife and four children.


  • Age 44
  • Tour 5 years, 1 month
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun; 16 gauge
  • Offender Sentenced to Life

ambush, escapee

Most Recent Reflection

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Deputy Sheriff Smith,
On today, the 75th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of Pinal County. And to your Family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.


United States Border Patrol

August 3, 2023

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