Birmingham Detective Shot Twice By Would-Be Cop-Killer, Saved By Gun Malfunction

Sandy Malone

Birmingham Police Detective Mikiel Smith was shot twice by Larry Dejuan Henderson on Friday before his gun jammed.

Birmingham, AL – A Birmingham police detective was shot twice outside of a Birmingham café on Friday morning and likely would have been killed if the suspect’s gun had not jammed.

The incident began at about 8 a.m. on April 24 after 26-year-old Larry Dejuan Henderson arrived for breakfast at Ruth’s Café located at 4012 24th Street North, AL.com reported.

Henderson ordered a breakfast sandwich and cake, but when the cashier gave him his total, he said he didn’t have money.

Wilma Bibb, owner of Ruth’s Café, said Henderson told the cashier “I’m gonna need you to pay for my s--t today,” AL.com reported.

“He may have just been kidding, I don’t know, but the cashier said, ‘I didn’t bring my debit card or cash today,’ so [Henderson] said he was going out to his car,’’ Bibb explained.

She said that’s when the cashier pointed out Bibb and said “That’s the owner. You can ask her,” AL.com reported.

“He turned around and looked at me and I said, “Are you OK? Did we take care of you?’’ Bibb said. “He said, ‘Yes.’’’

She said he went out to his car and sat there for a few minutes, and when he came back in, he had his debit card in one hand and a gun in the other, AL.com reported.

“He put the gun in his pocket, and he paid for his food,’’ Bibb said. “We have it on tape – him walking in with the debit card in one hand and the gun in the other.”

“Of course, when he came in with a gun, the staff was watching him from that point on because he was parked right in front of the restaurant,’’ she told AL.com.

“He put his food on the seat of the car and he just sat there and stared into the restaurant for about 35 minutes,’’ Bibb said.

About that time, Birmingham Police Detective Mikiel Smith arrived at Ruth’s Café to pick up his own breakfast, AL.com reported.

Det. Smith, 47, was a regular customer and well-known by restaurant staff so they told him about their concerns.

“One of my staff members said, ‘something’s wrong with that guy. He’s scaring people,’’’ Bibb said. “The police officer comes in the restaurant all the time so I asked him, ‘Will you do me a favor? This young man is just sitting here. Can you check and see if he’s okay and if he’s okay, can you just ask him to leave?’”

The owner said she went outside with Det. Smith and watched the officer approach Henderson’s car.

“Young man, are you okay?” the detective asked, according to Bibb.

She said Henderson replied “yeah,” and Det. Smith told him “We’re going to need you to leave the premises.”

Bibb said Henderson just looked down and didn’t say anything, AL.com reported.

She said Det. Smith calmly asked Henderson to leave three times, but did not threaten him with arrest.

“By the time he said it the third time, that young man opened the door and he fired, and he shot the officer in the arm. He shot him in the arm twice,’’ Bibb said.

Det. Smith was blown backwards into a red pickup truck parked next to Henderson, but that truck propped him up and gave him the leverage to fight back, AL.com reported.

“The only thing that saved his life was that he kept kicking the door as the young man was trying to get out of the car. The officer was bleeding everywhere,’’ Bibb said. “The officer fired, and he did hit him. I don’t know how but the young man had the adrenaline to keep trying to get out of the car and the officer kept kicking the door.”

She said that’s when Henderson’s gun jammed and Det. Smith dashed for cover on the side of the building, AL.com reported.

“If the gun hadn’t jammed, that officer would be dead,’’ Bibb said. “I know he wasn’t expecting that young man to fire, none of us were. I have never seen anything like it.”

“The young man – he had already been hit – he got out of the car and was on the ground,’’ the restaurant owner said. “He hit his gun on the ground [to free the jam], put the gun to his head and shot himself in the head.”

Police backup arrived and both Det. Smith and Henderson were transported to University of Alabama – Birmingham Hospital’s Trauma Center, AL.com reported.

Henderson was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Det. Smith, a 19-year veteran of the Birmingham Police Department, was shot in the arm and hand but was in “good condition” and expected to make a full recovery, WSFA reported.

Bibb wanted to make sure nobody thought the detective had been the aggressor in the incident, AL.com reported.

“I don’t want that officer’s character to be assassinated,’’ she said. “Anybody in this neighborhood knows if you’re in Ruth’s café for more than 30 minutes, you’re going to see a police officer or a sheriff because they all eat here. That wouldn’t have been anybody from the neighborhood that would do this.”

Police said that gun Henderson used was stolen and that the dead man had an illustrious criminal history.

When Henderson was 16 in 2010, he was charged with the capital murder of a 69-year-old man in Ensley, AL.com reported.

He pleaded guilty in 2014 to a reduced charge of murder and got 20 years in prison, AL.com reported.

His case became one of the two cases that in 2013 caused the Alabama Supreme Court to issue rules about sentencing for juvenile killers in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that said automatic life-without-parole sentences for juveniles were unconstitutional.

Henderson was arrested on drug charges again in 2017 and 2019, AL.com reported.

Comments (40)
No. 1-21
flybynight
flybynight

Viking24
Viking24

Animals doing what animals do!! They have the media and other animal atttorneys supporting them like Ben Crump

Sivispace
Sivispace

And to think the liberals are releasing more of these thugs every chance they get.

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

So, another person the Criminal Justice System failed, and he just about took out one of our BLUE members? Sad editorial on the CJS today!

vwiles34
vwiles34

He got a 20yr sentence for murder and is on the street trying to kill again 6yrs later. What has happened to our criminal justice system?

TONYAPARNELL
TONYAPARNELL

TAX MONEY SAVED, GO BLUE

USCPSGT
USCPSGT

Curious...why didn't they warn the detective that the suspect had a damn gun?

Scattered
Scattered

Why was he out on the streets? Im soo confused. Capital murder at 16 in 2010. He pleaded to reduced in 2014 and got 20 yrs. 4 years later? And why did the Supreme Court pick his case? He didnt get life without parole he got 20 and would still be young as hell. Ok so thats in 2014 and in 2017 he gets arrested for drugs. Wth is wrong with this picture? HE COULD HAVE KILLED THAT OFFICER YOU FKN JERKS. I'll ask again. Wth was he doing on the streets?

Jones24
Jones24

I am confused. Did they tell the officer about the gun? If they told the officer about the gun, I don’t think it would have gone down like this.

XIHP308
XIHP308

A prime example of a failure of the justice system. No reason that he was on the street.

bryantrent
bryantrent

Scary

Rascal1966
Rascal1966

WTF?!?

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

BPD says:

Detective Mikiel Smith has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Thank you for your 19 years of service, Detective Smith. I hope your guardian angel continues a close watch over you as you serve your community.

widbill45acp
widbill45acp

First, don't believe most news stories, maybe someone told him, maybe not, Detective Smith did what it took to survive, and that is all that matters. All the I WOULD DO THIS, OR YOU SHOULD DO THIS, have not been shot, faced the fear, and reacted like a survivor, Detective Smith, survivor, went home that night, the bad guy did not, END OF STORY!

Rayb
Rayb

Yeah.. the owner should have mentioned the gun... this could have been way worse.... at least it had a happy ending...another dead loser!

Truth Man 102
Truth Man 102

Animals. Can never get on board and behave like in a society in peace. I know. He was a good boy that got good grades

Shepfershort
Shepfershort

Self-euthanizing criminals. Are those created in a lab, or the back seat of a car?

Stanracer
Stanracer

This usual suspect should have still been in jail. Total failure of the justic system. What a joke.

Marshal D
Marshal D

This guy is acting strange, displays a gun, sits in his car in front of the cafe for 35 minutes and not one cafe employee had the common sense to dial 911? Then when the Detective comes in to get his own breakfast, nobody thought to mention that the guy had a gun? Unbelievable! Thank God the Detective survived this attack.

checksix
checksix

"“I don’t want that officer’s character to be assassinated,’’ she said." Some community activists don't care about the facts.

CopsKidTwo
CopsKidTwo

I saw a lot of people commenting that the shop owner never alerted the deputy about the firearm. To me, that sounds like a huge assumption. Just because the article didn't mention that the shop owner didn't tell him, doesn't mean she didn't. She obviously cared a lot about the officer--stating that he was a regular, she didn't want him to be blamed for the incident, and that LEOs were frequently in her establishment. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I'm inclined to believe that she would have mentioned the presence of a firearm.


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