Correctional Officer Justin James Smith

Correctional Officer Justin James Smith

North Carolina Department of Public Safety - Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice, North Carolina

End of Watch Thursday, October 12, 2017

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Justin James Smith

Correctional Officer Justin Smith, Correction Enterprises Manager Veronica Darden, and Correctional Officer Wendy Shannon were killed during an escape attempt from the Pasquotank Correctional Institute at approximately 3:00 pm.

On October 12th, 2017, several inmates ignited a fire inside the prison's Specialty Sewing Plant as a diversion. The inmates then attacked responding corrections officers with hammers and scissors obtained in the sewing plant. Prison personnel and responding fire department crews were able to bring the fire under control and prevent the escape.

Officer Shannon was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where she passed away on October 30th, 2017.

Four inmates were charged with first-degree murder as a result of the incident. The first of the four was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder on October 21, 2019. On October 28, 2019, he was sentenced to death. The 23-year-old was serving a 24-year sentence since 2013 for the attempted murder of a North Carolina State Trooper. He shot the trooper in Durham four times, twice in the face, after being pulled over for a seat belt violation. He was wanted in Vermont for violating his parole. He had recently been released there after serving 18 months of a two year sentence for more than 100 burglaries including one in which he stabbed a woman several times. After he shot the trooper his Durham apartment was searched where it was discovered he was making a bomb. A map of the Raleigh-Durham area was found nearby with circles of the locations of all police departments. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. The trooper recovered and returned to duty.

Officer Smith had served with the North Carolina Division of Prisons for five years.


  • Age 35
  • Tour 5 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Assault
  • Weapon Blunt object
  • Offender Guilty of first-degree murder

escape attempt, arson

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Thank you for your service and please know that your sacrifice will always be remembered by your law enforcement brethren.

Detective Cpl/3 Steven Rizzo
Delaware State Police (Retired)

October 12, 2020

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