Lakeland triple-murder suspect, David Eugene Smith, dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Polk County triple murder suspect has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest, authorities said.

David "Davy" Eugene Smith, 27, was taken to a Knoxville, Tenn., area hospital following an intense standoff at a hotel, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. He eventually emerged after authorities fired tear gas into the room.

Negotiators talked to Smith on Tuesday for hours, trying to persuade him to come out of a Days Inn motel room.

Earlier in the day, Smith had fired two shots out of the motel window.

Investigators were led to Knoxville after a 14-year-old girl came home to 5601 Old Road 37 in Lakeland and found her mother dead on Monday.

The girl, a member of junior ROTC at George Jenkins High School in Lakeland, had been away for the weekend. Her sergeant major brought her home to the gruesome discovery about 9:00 p.m.

Deputies arrived and found Danyalla Smith, 31, Nikosi Williams, 25, and Miranda Mims, 28, dead inside. Smith is the sister of the suspected killer.

Nikosi Williams' father, LeRoy Dempsey, learned Monday night that his son's truck was parked outside the scene of a triple murder.

"Hardest night of my life. I just ask for the prayers of the community. That you just pray for me and my family," he said.

Dempsey told ABC Action News in Tampa that he talked to Williams on Saturday night right before he went to his friend's house, where he was later shot.

"My son is just a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

Investigators believe David Smith stole his father's car after the murders and took off to Tennessee, where he is said to have had a former girlfriend.

Sheriff Grady Judd described Smith as a former military man, who suffers from PTSD. Judd also described Smith as "a trained warrior...with the ability to know how to fight."

The murders could have happened anytime between late Saturday night through to Monday evening.

"We don't know why he chose to kill the three of them," Judd said before his capture. "He is very dangerous. He is very violent. He has already murdered three people and he seems to have a proclivity to murder again."

Despite his grief, Nikosi's father sympathized with the suspected killer's state of mind.

"I understand the mindset. I understand post-traumatic stress disorder because I'm a veteran. And had it not been for Jesus Christ coming in my life, my story may have ended up the same way that his did," he said.

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