Gov. Bryant honors MBN agents involved in six-hour deadly 2015 Brookhaven standoff

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Seven agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics received Medals of Valor Tuesday from Gov. Phil Bryant for their part in a six-hour standoff in 2015 at a Brookhaven apartment building that left one man dead and two police officers injured.

“Today, I awarded seven Medals of Valor to Mississippi Bureau of Narcotic agents for bravery and swift action from an incident in 2015. It is the least we can do for the men and women who protect us each day. We thank them for their above-and-beyond response to the call of duty,” he wrote on his Facebook page to acknowledge the ceremony.

No photographs were taken of agents receiving their accolades. Their names were not made public.

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Their actions, however, were noted by MBN Director John Dowdy.

“SWAT snipers were deployed and were taking fire from the barricaded subject within 18 inches of their heads,” Dowdy said. “They stood firm, hunkered down and when he started to open fire on the rest of the SWAT team, one of the snipers was able to take the shot that enabled them to secure him.”

On Oct. 12, 2015, Rudolph “Toby” Smith, of Brookhaven, barricaded himself inside an apartment and opened fire on police. Smith, 31, had been making threats all day, Brookhaven Police Chief Bobby Bell said after the shooting, reportedly because he’d received eviction papers at the apartment complex off Union Street Extension.

Police responded to a call that evening that the subject was threatening other tenants and displaying a gun. When officers arrived on the scene to talk to the man, he discharged his weapon at them through his apartment door.

As the standoff began, Smith, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2004 automobile wreck, fired hundreds of rounds from a window and a door at the unit at Brookhaven Apartments.

Smith was severely injured in a hit-and-run on I-55 in 2004 when his truck was side-swiped by an 18-wheeler. Family members said then that Smith sustained severe head trauma, a concussion and broken vertebra in several places.

Bell said they tried to talk the man out of apartment 42. His parents showed up at the scene, and they called him and texted him for awhile trying to get him to come out, Bell said. Smith refused, he said, and then, without warning, Smith just started shooting.

“Shooting at cars and other buildings. Shots were ricocheting all over the place, then he would stop, and all of a sudden he would start again,” Bell said after the incident.

“We determined that we were going to have to try and get him out, so basically we called Entergy to try and control the lights,” he said. “We had the water cut off in case if we were to shoot some tear gas in there he wouldn’t have a way to wash his eyes and things like that. Heavy fire came on officers when they drove a car around.”

One commander had glass from a shattered windshield hit his eye. Two officers received minor injuries during the standoff, Bell said.

Nearly six hours into the standoff, officers were able to get tear gas into the house.

“When the tear gas was put in the house, he tried to exit through the back door, started firing at the officers and the officers fired back. That’s where he died,” Bell said.

Smith was hit several times, reports said.

Mayor Joe Cox, at a meeting of the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen the next night, praised the law enforcement officers who responded to the incident.

“Thanks to the Brookhaven Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s department, Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics and the Mississippi Highway Patrol for their professionalism in handling the situation — they took control of a bad situation and handled it,” he said.