Judiciary

Judge shot in ambush attack is eager to return to bench

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A Mississippi judge shot in an ambush attack two months ago hopes doctors will clear him to return to the bench in a few weeks.

Chancery Court Judge Charles Smith was shot in the hip on March 16 after he got out of his truck to enter the Lauderdale County Courthouse in Meridian. He didn’t see the shooter and initially thought he had been hit by lightning, according to a May 14 news release. The Meridian Star and WLBT have coverage.

The bullet clipped Smith’s femoral artery and split the ball-and-socket joint in his hip. A deputy who was close by radioed for help. Another deputy who was also a nurse knew what to do to stop the flow of blood.

Smith has had multiple surgeries to repair the damage.

At this point, Smith doesn’t have use of his left leg but he hopes to recover with more healing and physical therapy. “It’s a miracle,” Smith said in the press release. “All I can say is, God just said it wasn’t my time.”

Although he hasn’t fully healed, “I’m mentally ready to go back to work,” he said.

No arrests have been made in the case.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is reviewing clients and cases that Smith had as a prosecutor, as a private lawyer and as a judge. He became a judge hearing family law cases in January 2019.

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