Groves man shot subduing intoxicated intruder

  • Bruce Patrick Smith, 50, of Groves.
    Bruce Patrick Smith, 50, of Groves.

A Groves man fought off a would-be thief, according to an indictment from July 16, suffering a gunshot wound while successfully disarming the assailant.

Groves police were dispatched to Gulfway Drive around 4:30 a.m. June 7 in reference to the burglary of several vehicles, according to the indictment. The complainant stated that he located the suspect, later identified as 50-year-old Groves resident Bruce Smith, standing beside a truck with a broken window. The victim told police he noticed several of his commercial vehicles had their radios removed.

The victim told police he then yelled at Smith, who approached him. Not knowing what Smith’s intentions were, the indictment reads, the victim began striking Smith multiple times in the face. Smith fell to the ground, at which time the victim noticed a hammer in Smith’s possession. 

The victim took the attempted thief’s hammer and began leading him toward his home, where his cell phone was located. During this procession, Smith fell to the ground. The victim told Smith to get up repeatedly, who rolled over to face the man he tried to rob and pointed a 9mm pistol at him. The victim then grabbed the slide and barrel with his left hand, according to the indictment, and was shot in the process. The victim then began striking Smith until he released the firearm. The wounded victim then held his assailant until he was able to call police.

Smith told police he lives in a trailer park nearby and went to the victim’s business, which is next door to the owner’s home, when he heard windows being broken. He told police he was highly intoxicated and went to investigate, finding a hammer on the premises near a truck before pocketing it. Smith further stated he saw a shadow move away from the trucks.

That’s when Smith says he was struck from behind by the owner of the vehicles and property. Smith said he got up and started walking, at which time he fell to the ground. Smith initially said the firearm fell out of his pants and discharged on its own, striking the victim in the hand. He then reiterated his advanced drunken state before saying he was unsure of the exact events that transpired. Then he said he did retrieve the firearm from his pocket and pulled the trigger.

Based on the proximity of Smith’s residence in relation to the business, the time of night, him possessing a hammer, him standing near the broken window and there being no other subjects in the area, the indictment reads, police believe he was burglarizing the vehicles. However, the missing radios weren’t reported as being found in Smith’s possession.