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Security video, police reports reveal details about the struggle that ensued before David Smith’s death

PEORIA (WEEK) – Through a Freedom of Information Request, Heart of Illinois ABC obtained security video and police reports of the attempted armed robbery that ended with the suspect unresponsive in police custody.

The suspect, David Smith, likely died from a heart arrhythmia according to the county coroner. Smith ran from the Johnson Mini Mart in Peoria on Oct. 28th after holding up an employee at gun point.

Smith’s family has said police and medics did not do enough to ensure he stayed alive. After her son’s death, Smith’s mother told us, “I just want to know the truth about what happened to my son.”

Police reports show Smith was found lying in a yard near the store on S. Saratoga St. Medics were called to evaluate him. They said Smith’s vitals were normal and released him to police.

Later, Smith was unresponsive at the police station and taken to the hospital where he ultimately died.

New details from police reports show the man who appears to be Smith struggled with the store employee for several minutes before leaving the mini mart.

Security video shows Smith enters the mini mart with a gun and goes right to the employee behind the counter. The employee told police that Smith pointed the gun at him and asked for money, and to see the safe.

The employee said he tells Smith there is no safe. That’s when he claims Smith said, “You are going to die,” and leads the employee to a back room.

In the back room, Smith allegedly puts the gun under the employees chin and asks to see the safe again. Again, the employee said he does not have a safe. A second time, Smith allegedly tells him, “You are going to die.” The employee told police he heard the trigger click twice, but police later deemed that not possible. When they located the 9 mm handgun, it was loaded.

Police reports state the employee tried to calm Smith down. That’s when the employee allegedly grabs the gun from Smith and threw it aside the the back room. Documents show the two begin to fight at this point, for at least five minutes.

At one point, the police report states Smith got on top of the employee and grabbed the side of his face and began scratching him. Throughout the altercation, Smith is seen on video leaving the business three times and coming back in; Smith finally escapes the fourth time. The employee eventually broke free at the same time and left the store, yelling for someone to call police. The employee later told police he was able to remove a mask from Smith’s face and recognized him as a past customer.

When Smith is coming in and out of the business, there are times he appears to be stumbling. At one point, Smith appears to stop and bend over to catch his breath.

The 74 pages of police reports also explain how medics responded to the situation.

After Smith left the mini mart, police found Smith lying in a yard on S. Saratoga. One report said Smith tried to resist officers as they tried to handcuff him. When he got to the back of the squad car, police stated Smith was breathing heavily and “going in and out of consciousness.”

That’s when police call for AMT medics.

One police report states Smith was taken out of handcuffs, and his jacket removed, to be evaluated. Medics said his vitals were normal. It goes on to say, “They asked David if he wanted to go to the hospital and he did not give them an answer. They stated they would be writing a refusal.” 

Another police report by an officer states, “AMT responded to the scene and evaluated David. AMT advised they would be marking David down as a refusal.” It goes on to say the officer was handed a copy of the refusal form.

Police reports show no record of Smith saying anything but his name.

After receiving clearance from AMT, police put Smith back in handcuffs and into a squad car.

When the car arrived at the Peoria Police Department, an officer with Smith realized he was unresponsive after calling his name a few times with no answer. Smith was pulled out of the car and laid on the sidewalk. The officer reported he could not feel Smith’s pulse and began CPR. Documents show another officer was called over to help with CPR. They called an ambulance, but before it arrived they attempted to give Smith Narcan and used an AED. The AED told officers not to administer a shock, and to continue CPR.

One police report said that when Smith was taken in the ambulance to OSF St. Francis Medical Center, he was still alive.

Smith was pronounced dead at the hospital the next day, Oct. 29th, at 4:52 p.m.

That day, police followed up with OSF St. Francis Medical Center. The report said there was some bruising on his face and internal bleeding. However, the nurse did not know the cause of the bleeding. The hospital also relayed that Smith had cannabis in his system and a Blood Alcohol Level of .22.

The case remains under investigation by Illinois State Police.

 

 

Molly Jirasek

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