published Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

TBI probes Grundy County shooting

166 Ivey St.
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A man shot twice by Grundy County, Tenn., deputies remains hospitalized, authorities said.

Russell W. Smith, 45, was listed in "critical but stable" condition at Erlanger hospital, 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said Tuesday afternoon.

The shooting probe has been turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation "to determine whether the use of deadly force was appropriate," Taylor said.

Smith was shot Monday after turning a rifle on deputies who were trying to serve him with an arrest warrant for escaping from the Grundy County Jail, Taylor said.

He was trying to flee on an all-terrain vehicle when he was shot, TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said.

Taylor said he was limited in what he could say about the incident and investigation, but he noted that Smith had escaped about two weeks ago from the jail. Court officials said Smith was being held on drug and gun charges.

The incident happened Monday about 2 p.m. CDT at 166 Ivey St. in Palmer, Tenn., Helm said. She said three other people were charged with "assisting" Smith in the escape from jail. Their names were not available late Tuesday.

Monday's shooting is not the first time violence has erupted as Grundy County deputies tried to serve a warrant.

On June 5, 2008, 29-year-old Grundy County Deputy Shane Tate was shot to death while trying to serve a warrant on Kermit Eugene Bryson at a mobile home on Monteagle Falls Road, according to Chattanooga Times Free Press archives.

Bryson committed suicide later the same day after law enforcement personnel surrounded him at a home in Monteagle, Tenn., according to archives.

In another incident, Jesse C. Smart, 27, was killed April 13, 2000, in an officer-involved shooting that TBI officials called self-defense after Smart rammed Deputy Dennis Womack's patrol car at a roadblock, according to archives. Smart was fleeing police in a truck stolen from neighboring Warren County.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at and follow him on Twitter at

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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