Fugitive shot by officer in Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A man is out of the hospital and in Portsmouth City Jail Friday night, after being seriously wounded in an officer-involved shooting.

The shooting happened around 2:20 p.m. Thursday near South Street and Cumberland Avenue, off Airline Boulevard. The man was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital for treatment.

Michael Smith (Photo provided by Smith's mother)
Michael Smith (Photo provided by Donna Hampton)

The suspect’s mother, Donna Hampton, identified him as Michael Smith, 27, of Delaware. Hampton says Smith and his wife came to Portsmouth this week and both were staying at Hampton’s South Street home.

“The doctor said they shot to kill him and they just missed his heart,” said Hampton. A communications specialist at Sentara Norfolk General told us there was no information available for a Michael Smith. We know now that Smith was classified at Sentara Norfolk General in a category where information cannot be released on him. He remained under police custody as he received medical treatment.

Smith’s wife says the two got into an argument Thursday and Smith left to take a walk around the neighborhood. That is when he was approached by the officer trying to serve him an outstanding warrant from the state of Maryland. The officer was in one of the two unmarked police vehicles visible at the scene.

Smith’s mother insists he did not have any outstanding warrants and was not carrying a gun.

Lt. Joe Zurolo with the Elkton Police Department in Maryland says otherwise. Smith had warrants on file for first degree burglary, fourth degree burglary, malicious destruction of property, stolen firearm, third degree burglary and theft $1,000 to $10,000.

Smith’s mother insisted, “He did not have a gun. He does not have a gun at all,” said Hampton. “The only thing he might have had on him was a pocket knife.”

Smith’s mother told WAVY News’ Andy Fox he was being questioned by detectives Friday night after getting out of the hospital.

The officer was not shot during the incident.

No information has been given on what led the police officer to shoot into the police cruiser. WAVY.com has also learned that the bullet hole in the police cruiser came from an officer’s firearm. WAVY.com asked if there were a struggle that would have led to a wild shot. Police would not comment on that. It is also unknown how many shots were fired, although a neighbor reported hearing only one.

Hampton told WAVY.com on Friday the officer refused to give a statement without an attorney. Mike Imprevento of Breit, Drescher, Imprevento & Walker, who represents police officers, said “that’s not unusual. I always advise my clients against talking to detectives. They should only give statements to internal affairs. These statements are protected and can’t be used externally.”

Chesapeake Police Chief Kelvin Wright says the suspect was a fugitive, and officers were trying to assist another jurisdiction in Maryland. The officer was put on administrative assignment.

Lt. Col. David Hackworth with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office said the Office had no comment, but he confirmed the deputy that was with the police officer did not fire his own weapon. Chesapeake police say the officer was assigned to the Warrant Unit, and has been with the Department for more than 10 years.

Donna Hampton says she tried to see her son at Sentara Norfolk General, but her visit was denied.

Stay with WAVY.com for any new information.

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