• Suspect in Lakeland triple-murder dies after shooting self during standoff in Tenn.


    LAKELAND, Fla. - A man accused of shooting and killing his sister and two others inside a Lakeland home has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound following a standoff with authorities in Knoxville, Tenn.

    Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said David Smith, 27, is believed to have shot and killed three people over the Memorial Day weekend in a home where he lived. The bodies were found in the home on Old Highway 37 in Lakeland late Monday night.

    David Smith's autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, authorities said.

    A 14-year-old girl found her mother's body, along with two others, when she returned home from an ROTC event, deputies said.

    "I consider her exceptionally lucky that she wasn't in the house this weekend because at that point in time he killed everyone in the house, and I have no reason to believe he would have spared her life had she been there," Judd said.

    Investigators identified the victims as Danyala Smith,; her partner, Miranda Mims, 28,; and their friend, Ni'Kosi Williams, 25, of Lakeland.

    Danyala Smith was the sister of the suspect and mother of the girl who found the victims.

    A manhunt began in Tennessee and authorities located David Smith in Knoxville, where his former girlfriend allegedly lives.

    According to investigators with the Knox County Sheriff's Department, David Smith called 911 and said he wanted to commit "suicide by cop."

    Investigators said while the SWAT team and deputies were negotiating with David Smith at the Days Inn where he was holed up, he fired two shots from the window of his room.

    About an hour after negotiators lost contact with David Smith, SWAT members gassed his room and found him suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, investigators said.

    "I really can't even process it. This is, my daughter said it best, we just woke up to a nightmare. That's what we're going through right now," said Williams' father.

    Investigators said David Smith stole his father's car to drive to Knoxville.

    Judd also said David Smith's mother told them her son served in the military and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. His mother said he is paranoid and delusional but was not on medication.

    "We know he has some quotes on his Facebook page, such as, 'I hate evil and I will not allow it on my earth.' He also talks about, 'My adulterous wife, you know better, I will see you.' He doesn't have a wife," said Judd.

    In March after David Smith had wandered away from home, Danyala Smith posted a picture of her brother on Facebook asking that anyone who saw him call law enforcement. In the post she said he was not safe, mentally.

    Channel 9 learned David Smith spent time in a mental hospital in the past after Lakeland police sent him there using the Baker Act.

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