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Neighbors react to cop accused of chase

SUPPLY, NC (WWAY) — A former Leland Police officer accused of leading a high-speed chase from Brunswick County into South Carolina was wanted on warrants that accuse him of threats against a woman and her children involving a rifle. Police were attempting to serve those warrants when they say Smith fled.

“It could have been anything,” Hunter Cuthbert said to herself when she heard sirens blaring last night. ““I didn’t really know what was going on I just knew they were going fast cause when I looked outside they were gone.”

It wasn’t until the next day when she and other folks in the neighborhood where Hank Smith lived found out what had happened.

“I seen the sheriffs deputies pass you know,” Julie Bryant said, motioning her arm back and forth.

It all started off of Hillock Dr. in Supply, police say, as they came to serve warrants on Smith.

The warrants say Hank Smith pointed the AR-15 rifle at the woman and told her he would kill her and her children. The alleged incident Sept. 7 led to charges of assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats.

Detectives have since gotten warrants against Smith for attempted murder, flee/elude arrest and assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.

Investigators say the chase continued into Horry County and ended on SC Highway 31, where Smith was taken into custody by South Carolina officials. Horry County Police say Smith is in an area hospital and will be charged when he is released. There’s no word yet on what those charges will be.

When neighbors found out Smith was a former law enforcement officer himself, they were angry.

“You don’t wanna know what I think,” said Bryant, “I just think it’s a mess. I mean he’s supposed to uphold the law and here he is a criminal.”


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