Ambush shooting of judge was 'personal,' police chief says

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Updated: Police have been reviewing surveillance video in their investigation of a Monday morning shooting that critically wounded a Mississippi judge.

Judge Charlie Smith was shot after he got out of his truck to enter the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Meridian, report the Meridian Star, the Associated Press, WTOK and the Mississippi Clarion Ledger.

Interim Meridian Police Chief Lewis Robbins said on Tuesday that the shooting was “personal” and directed toward the judge, the Meridian Star reports in a separate story.

“We are continuing to follow leads. We are continuing to investigate. We are continuing to look at suspects in reference to this shooting,” Robbins told the Meridian Star. “We’re doing everything that we can to bring this to a closure.”

Smith was ambushed and shot in the back with a high-powered rifle, according to a Facebook post by Chancery Court Judge Larry Primeaux. The Mississippi Clarion Ledger had coverage in a separate story.

Smith became a judge in January 2019. He presided in chancery court, which handles divorces, child custody cases, adoptions and guardianships. Before becoming a judge, Smith was a prosecutor in youth court and county court.

Primeaux said at a county meeting on Monday that Smith had undergone surgery and was expected to be transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, according to the Meridian Star.

“Judge Smith is a decent, fair person and he certainly did not deserve this,” Primeaux said.

In his Facebook post, Primeaux said Smith “has several surgeries ahead” and his injuries are serous.

Story updated on March 18 with new information.

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