Brian Smith

Brian Smith

Cop Tales are true stories as told by law enforcement officers from all over the country. The stories are told in the first person. The actual officer’s initials follow each story.

Uzi shooting

Every New Year’s Eve, I relive this incident. On New Year’s Eve, I had just finished working the afternoon shift and was about to go home to bring in the new year when the sergeant approached me and asked if I wanted to work four hours of overtime for DUI patrol. I agreed and another officer and I partnered up. We arrested a DUI driver right before midnight, and as our four hours were winding down, we drove down a street that was known for drunken drivers. It was about 1 a.m. when we approached a parking lot. There were no other cars around us, but as we approached the parking lot, I observed a pick-up truck stopped, waiting to pull out of the lot.

Just as we approached it, he pulled out right in front of us, then almost hit the center divider area, as he weaved in the lanes. I was happy to be able to remove another DUI driver from the road. I put on the red lights and he pulled over. As we exited the patrol car and made our approach, he accelerated away. We jumped in our car and went after him. We chased him down back streets as a back-up unit joined the pursuit. The suspect eventually pulled into a driveway, so we thought he was going to run into the house.

I approached the driver's side as my partner approached the passenger side. When I got to the left rear tire, I heard a muffled pop. I thought it was a firecracker from the next yard and due to it being New Year's Eve, I didn't think anything of it. I then looked in the cab of the truck, only to see the barrel of an Uzi pointed at me. It then hit me that the muffled pop I heard was from the Uzi. He had already fired once. I just remember standing at the door of his truck, looking down the barrel of the Uzi and thinking, "I'm dead." Then I thought about my three boys at home and how they wouldn't have a dad anymore. I even remember thinking that my 9-month-old son wouldn’t even remember me.

Somehow, I retreated behind the tailgate and shot one round through the rear window of his pick-up truck, which proved to be fatal. My partner, who was still standing at the right front window, shot him as well. I then saw the barrel of the Uzi sticking up toward the open window and I didn't know if he was incapacitated or not. I jumped in the bed of the truck and yelled for him to put his hands up. He never moved. I tapped his shoulder with no response, so I grabbed the barrel of the Uzi and pulled it away from him. The other officers pulled him out of the cab and attempted to revive him. He had a fully loaded .9mm Uzi with four fully loaded magazines tucked in his belt. To this day, we will never know what motivated him to conduct such an act. 

- BS

Before HIPAA

As a new deputy back in the early 1990s, I was assigned to the county jail working nights. My job was supervising a Housing Unit with 196 inmates living in it.

One night my control officer who worked upstairs, opening and closing doors and directing visits, etc., called me by radio about an agitated inmate in one of the units. I went into the unit and noticed that one of the inmates was yelling and walking around hitting the walls, obviously very angry. I went up and asked him what he was mad about. He started crying and told me that his wife was in labor that very minute in the hospital with their first child. I asked him which hospital and his wife’s name. I told him I would see what I could find out but I wanted him to stay on his bunk, in his cell and calm down.

I went to my office, called the hospital, and told them who I was and what I wanted. The nurse said she would be glad to get the status of the wife and put me on hold. In a minute or two the nurse came back and said that the wife had just delivered a healthy girl and everyone was fine.

I then went upstairs so I could announce the good news over the loudspeaker in the unit. I turned on the speaker and asked the inmate to step out of his cell. When he was standing by his door looking up at me, I told him his wife was fine and had just delivered a healthy baby girl. He was immediately swarmed by all the others in his unit, who congratulated him and shook his hand. It really made me feel good to turn a potential problem into a celebration.

- RI

Watch evil

I had just graduated from the police academy and was ready to start my first shift working evenings. I was being issued my equipment when a call came in of a knife fight in progress. My training officer told me to get in the car and as he sped away, he told me to never drive the way he was until after I was off probation.

When we arrived at the location, my training officer told me to take out my baton and watch a guy who I later learned was nicknamed “Evil.” He told Evil that it was my first day on the job. My training officer then turned toward me and told me to break Evil’s leg if he moved. So while my training officer was trying to figure out what happened at the scene, Evil and I just stared at each other. He never moved a muscle, but now that I think about it, I guess I didn’t either.

- GM

Brian Smith served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, and retired as an assistant chief with the California Highway Patrol. He resides in Bakersfield. If you have a personal “Cop Tale” to share, please contact Smith at