Mississippi judge eager to return to work after being shot
MERIDIAN (AP) — A Mississippi judge shot in March as he arrived at the courthouse says he’s eager to get back to work.
Lauderdale County Chancellor Judge Charles Smith hopes doctors will clear him for a return to the bench in a few weeks, WLBT-TV reported.
“I’m looking forward to getting back to work. I am hoping that in a couple of weeks, the doctors will say that I’m ready to go back to work because I’m ready,” he said.
Smith was shot March 16 in downtown Meridian. A bullet tore through Smith’s left hip, clipped his femoral artery, split the ball-and-socket joint in his hip and exited in front where the leg joins the torso, officials said. He has since gone through multiple surgeries to repair the damage and has spent time recuperating at Methodist Rehabilitation Center.
Smith recalled the day he was shot, telling the television station he had just walked behind his truck, when a loud noise startled him around 7:15 a.m.
“I heard this loud sound like a thunderclap and thought lightning … knocked me down. I looked up and the sky was clear,” he recalled.
That’s when he realized he had been shot, Smith said.
“There was a deputy around the corner who immediately came around and he radioed for help. Another deputy who was close by was also a nurse. He had his trauma kit. He knew what to do in regards to stopping the flow of blood,” Smith said. “If the deputy hadn’t known what to do to stop the flow of blood, I would have bled out right there.”
Smith said he is fortunate to have survived.
“All I can say is God just said it wasn’t my time,” he said.
Before this incident, Smith said he had never been threatened or felt threatened. Now Smith said he pays more attention to things such as ordinary traffic.
“I don’t know that it’s going to change my life. I’m going to get up and enjoy the day and go to work. I’m not going to be paranoid about it, but it is a wake-up call. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.”
No arrests have been made in the case. Smith did not see the shooter.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is investigating. East Mississippi Crimestoppers has offered a reward of up to $32,000 for information that would lead to an arrest. Tips may be given anonymously to the Crimestoppers tip line at 855-485-8477.
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