May 2, 2012

Tuttle man shoots son

Jeanne Grimes, Staff Writer,

TUTTLE — Grady County law enforcement authorities knew John Smith Jr., as someone with a history of domestic violence fueled by methamphetamine use, Sheriff Art Kell said Monday.

Smith, 20, was killed Friday night by a single shot fired from a high-powered deer rifle by his father. The shooting is being treated as justifiable homicide, Kell said.

The parents, John and Rita Smith, told investigators that the younger man had come to their home east of Tuttle late Friday to ask for money. When they gave him cash, he became irate and tore the bills up. In what Kell described as methamphetamine rage, he strangled his mother and attacked his father, a dialysis patient, and grabbed a young girl his parents were babysitting, threatening to kill the child.

When the younger Smith went to the kitchen to get a butcher knife, his father got the rifle. As the son came down the hall toward the bedroom where the three were, the father stepped into the hall and fired the fatal shot.

Deputy Corey Loftice was first to arrive at the house around 11 p.m. He found John Smith Jr., on the floor with the butcher knife still in his hand.

Kell said it was apparent that the fight between son and parents had "gone on quite a while"

"In my opinion, the father did everything in his power to avoid the action taken to save his wife, the child and himself," Kell said. "Otherwise, we could have had three people murdered because of meth.

"For all the people who use meth, in the last few months, I have seen three families destroyed by the poor decision of choosing this style of life over the love of others."

According to court records, John Smith Jr., pleaded guilty on March 6 to a felony drug charge in Choctaw County and was on probation.