Justice of the Peace J. Rufus Smith

Justice of the Peace J. Rufus Smith

Tazewell County Circuit Court, Virginia

End of Watch Wednesday, May 20, 1936

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J. Rufus Smith

Justice J. Rufus Smith was shot and killed by a Virginia state game warden while investigating a car that was blocking the roadway. As Justice Smith approached the vehicle the game warden, who was operating the car, and two other men exchanged words with him.

The game warden then opened fire, striking Justice Smith two times. Despite being mortally wounded, Justice Smith was able to return fire, but did not strike the men.

The shooting took place on the Tazewell County/Buchanan County border. The game warden was tried in Tazewell County and sentenced to 8 years in prison for murdering Justice Smith.

Justice Smith had served as the elected justice of the peace for the Maiden Springs District for seven months. He was survived by his wife and 11 children.


  • Age 60
  • Tour 7 months
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun
  • Offender Sentenced to 8 years

suspicious vehicle

Most Recent Reflection

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Rest in peace Justice of the Peace Smith. A hero forevermore leaving behind a wife and eleven children.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

October 17, 2021

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