UPDATE: Polk Co. Triple Murder Suspect Dead in Tennessee
UPDATE at 8:30 p.m. May 27: Law enforcement officials now say David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, has died at a Tennessee hospital from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
UPDATE at 2:55 p.m. May 27: Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says police in Knoxville, Tennessee, have taken David Eugene Smith, a suspect in a triple murder in Lakeland, into custody.
The Knox County Sheriff says Smith was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after a standoff with police at the Days Inn in West Knox County.
Smith's sister Danyalla Smith, 31, Miranda Mims, 28, and Nikosi Williams, 25, were apparently killed sometime over the weekend in a home in the 5600 block of Old Highway 37.
Smith, who was living in the home, allegedly stole his father's car and left after the murders. Judd says the bodies were discovered by Danyalla Smith's 14-year-old daughter when she came home from a weekend ROTC trip.
Judd adds that Polk County Sheriff's detectives are on their way to Tennessee.
ORIGINAL POST at 9:30 a.m. May 27: Polk County Sheriff's officials are seeking a man they consider to be armed and dangerous in connection with three murders that took place in a Lakeland home.
David Eugene Smith, 27, reportedly lived at the house in the 5600 block of Old Highway 37 where detectives say the bodies of three people -- two females and one male -- were found.
The bodies were found around 9 p.m. last night by a 14-year-old girl who arrived home from a weekend ROTC trip and found her mother dead.
The victims were all apparently killed sometime after 7 a.m. this past Saturday. Their names have not yet been released.
Smith reportedly was a member of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and had served in Iraq and Afganistan. He apparently suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), has been Baker Acted in the past and refers to himself as "Prince David."
"Due to his alleged military background, his paranoid and delusional state of mind, we are urging the public's help in locating this suspect as soon as possible," Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference this morning. He added that Smith is considered to be armed and dangerous.
Smith, 27, is described as 5'10" and weighs around 220 pounds. He's of Native American descent with black hair, brown eyes and brown toned skin.
He was last seen driving a 2002 beige Mercury Sable, with a Florida license 708 MDB. While sheriff's officials believe Smith may have friends in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and family in Texas, his current whereabouts remain unknown.
Anyone with information about Smith is asked to contact the Polk County Sheriff's Office at 863-298-6200 or Crime Stoppers at 800-226-TIPS.