Officer Indicted in Slaying of Fellow Officer
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) _ A police officer who says he shot and killed his partner in self-defense while trying to get evidence the partner was plotting to assassinate city officials has been charged with murder.
Farrell Tucker, 35, was indicted Wednesday in the shooting death of Stephen Richard Smith, 31, who was under suspension and facing brutality charges.
Smith, who had been best man at Tucker’s wedding, was shot five times as the two drove through Smith’s neighborhood Aug. 18. Tucker says he fired in self-defense as Smith, who was driving, held a gun on him.
″Farrell Tucker is a victim, scapegoat and pawn of the carnival-like atmosphere that has surrounded the grand jury’s review of this incident almost from its inception,″ defense attorney Joseph Scuro said.
Tucker had approached Assistant Police Chief Frank Hoyack saying he had information that Smith planned to assassinate Hoyack, Deputy Police Chief Robert Hueck and county District Attorney Sam Millsap.
Smith was facing an October trial on a charge of criminal brutality in the alleged beating of a shoplifting suspect, and had been questioned in connection with the fatal shooting of a burglary suspect. He was the subject of two FBI civil rights investigations.
Police had also questioned Smith about smear letters written to local newspapers which accused Hoyack and Hueck of being child abusers, and about incidents of valdalism at other police officers’ homes.
Tucker said Smith blamed Hoyack, Hueck and Millsap for his troubles and his frustration at legal limits on police behavior.
After informing the officials of the alleged assassination plot, Tucker told them he was to meet with Smith and would tape their conversation.
The meeting with Smith ended with the shooting. Tucker told authorities Smith had pulled a gun on him and forced him to surrender his weapon. Tucker said he pulled a second, hidden gun from his belt and shot his one-time friend.
Investigators have questioned Tucker’s account of the shooting, noting that the recording he made of the meeting was garbled.
Medical examiner Vincent DiMaio said his autopsy indicated Smith was not looking at Tucker when the bullets struck him near the ear. Instead, he said, the wounds indicated Smith was looking out the window.
Investigators also questioned why Smith, a 7-year veteran, would not ask Tucker for his hidden revolver since it was no secret that street cops often carry two guns.