Hero Down: Mississippi Trooper Murdered While Confronting Meth User Off-Duty

Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth Joshlin "Josh" Smith was fatally shot on Sep. 30.

Tippah County, MS – Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) Trooper Kenneth Joshlin “Josh” Smith was gunned down as he was socializing with friends in the early morning hours of Sep. 30.

Trooper Smith, 32, went to the Hatchie Bottom area near the border of Tippah County and Alcorn County on the night of Sep. 29, where he planned to ride ATVs and hang out with friends, multiple official sources from numerous agencies told the Clarion Ledger.

According to witnesses, 43-year-old Troy Eaton was also at the recreational area, and had brought methamphetamine with him.

Trooper Smith had a brief confrontation with Eaton, and made it very clear that he was a law enforcement officer and that he wouldn’t tolerate drug activity in the area, the Clarion Ledger reported.

"Any law enforcement officer at any given time might have to act in that given capacity at any time to prevent injury to another," MHP spokesperson Johnny Poulos told the news outlet in the wake of the trooper’s murder.

The situation between Trooper Smith and Eaton seemed to quickly dissipate, and the gathering continued into the night.

But around midnight, Trooper Smith and his brother-in-law, 38-year-old Rickie Vick, approached Eaton as Eaton was sitting in his Jeep.

Eaton pulled out a handgun, fatally shooting the trooper, witnesses said.

He then shot Vick in the abdomen before he ran off into the woods.

Trooper Smith was pronounced dead at the scene just before 1 a.m.

Vick suffered non-life threatening injuries, and was taken to a local hospital.

Investigators initiated a manhunt for the shooter with the assistance of state, local, and federal law enforcement officers, WTVA reported.

Eaton ultimately surrendered at approximately 5:30 a.m., and was taken into custody for the capital murder of Trooper Smith.

As he was being led into his initial court appearance in Ashland on Tuesday, Eaton told the media he had shot Vick and Trooper Smith in “self-defense,” the Clarion Ledger reported.

Trooper Smith, an 11-year veteran of the agency, served in the MHP’s Special Operations Group, motorcycle patrol, and SWAT units during his career, according to his obituary.

“While friends and family always held a fear of the unknown that comes with a career dedicated to serving others, Josh served fearlessly in whatever capacity he was needed to fill,” his obituary read.

Trooper Smith, a married father of two, was described by friends and family as a “devoted father and husband.”

“He worked hard to provide for his family making sure their needs were met before his own,” according to his obituary. “Family was the most important thing in life.”

“While Josh leaves a void that will never be filled, the pride that his family and friends have for the outstanding man he was will carry on forever,” his obituary read.

Law enforcement officers from nearly every state in the country attended Trooper Smith’s funeral service on Thursday, the Clarion Ledger reported.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant was among those in attendance.

"He is another fallen hero we tragically lost during the last week,” the governor said in a tweet. “These attacks on our law enforcement must stop. Please pray for his family and friends.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper Kenneth Joshlin “Josh” Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Comments (74)
No. 1-23
ProGODProUSA
ProGODProUSA

Rest in peace, Trooper Smith. You wore the badge, in and out of uniform. Thank you for your service to your community. May God comfort your family, both blood and blue.

angeleyes
angeleyes

RIP Trooper. So sorry for your loss to your friends and family, both blood and blue. Glad they caught the meth head who did this to you and hopefully true justice will be served for this. So tired of it being open season on our First Responders, always and everywhere charge needs to be automatically upgraded when a First Responder is involved.

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

Rest in peace Trooper Smith. My condolences to your family in red and blue. Thank you for your service. Your life mattered!! 🙏💙🇺🇸

jimmyfboyd1234
jimmyfboyd1234

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they will be called SON'S of GOD. Matthew 5:9

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

RIP Trooper Smith. This POS drug addict waste of oxygen needs one between the eyes right after his guilty verdict!!!

Celtic Gyrl
Celtic Gyrl

On behalf of all Mississippians, thank you all for your condolences, well wishes, and messages to the family and friends of our fallen officers. It’s been a bad week for Mississippi.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

if smith's gun was in his hand when he was shot down then it probably was justified self defense.

pixiepup
pixiepup

RIP TROOPER SMITH. Prayers for family and friends 🙏

hotrod1
hotrod1

he had made it clear. he was a officer. the meth head murdered him. get a rope.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

When are Smith's tox results scheduled to come back?

EMarie
EMarie

Rest in Peace Officer. Thank you for being a Cop 24 hours a day! God bless you.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Also, it is highly improper for investigators to be making statements about what happened while the investigation is ongoing. Making it even shadier, they are making the statements anonymously. This may come back to bite them if this end up going to court. This whole situation seems shady as anything.

Marxest
Marxest

I grieve for the loss of this officer and the pain his family must feel. But... He should have known better than to confront a meth-head freak without a body-armor. Meth heads are always dangerous! ALWAYS!!! This tragedy could have been avoided!

charlesjandecka
charlesjandecka

It rarely is wrong for ff duty cops if evaluate criminal situations as they unfold, never wrong to 1st consider their own level of intoxication if they have been drinking and as always, just be a note taker until local LE show up!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Update with no new info:.

No tox results

Sources still anonymous

No word on whether his gun was out and/or recently fired.

jimmyfboyd1234
jimmyfboyd1234

Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they shall be called the SON'S of GOD. Matthew 5:9

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

"Smith died of a single gunshot wound from a handgun, said McCallister, who transported the body to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Jackson. He declined to say what type of gun was used. The preliminary autopsy report is complete and states that Smith died of a gunshot wound. McCallister said he may receive a toxicology report at some point. The shooting occurred about halfway up a steep gravel hill near the Waldon Bridge, which is close to County Road 202 in Tippah County. It was unclear how Smith and Eaton would have arrived at that point or how many other people may have been present when the shooting happened. Eaton turned himself into authorities about five hours later."

What does the coroner mean that he "may" get a tox report? He doesn't know? Seems like a hugely relevant piece of evidence seeing how a person has been charged with murder. Hinkier and hinkier.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

WTVA reports: "The coroner says a toxicology report is pending." That was a week ago. Has anyone here seen this report yet?

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

From Corinth Today:

Eaton, 43, of Rienzi, is charged with capital murder in the shooting of Smith, 32, of Alcorn County. The subpoenas will seek information on Smith, such as toxicology reports, employment records, 911 calls and many other documents.

. . .

Corinth Today contacted Tippah County Justice Court on Thursday to ask about the subpoenas. A woman at the office said, “We don’t have any in our office to be served” and that the case is in circuit court. The court official hung up the phone on a reporter when she was asked for her name.

Wheeler and Franks told Corinth Today last week that there are a “multitude of witnesses” who support the claim that Eaton was exercising his legal right to self defense when Smith was fatally shot Sept. 30 in Tippah County’s Big Hatchie Bottom.

ON EDIT: the preliminary hearing is scheduled for 15 Nov 2018.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Troooper Joshlin's killer is out on bail now (a bit surprised they didn't cover that here at The Blue Lives Matter website). Still no tox test results on Joshlin.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday
  • BUMP for the Monday morning crew *
Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Case goes to grand jury on April 3. Still no word on officer smith's tox test.

vwiles34
vwiles34

RIP Trooper Smith, Deepest condolences to your family, friends and brothers/sisters in blue. You fought the good fight and now it's your time to rest.