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Detective went to former cop’s house on child sex crimes call

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New details are emerging about the former Leland Police officer accused of leading a high-speed chase into South Carolina this week, including allegations of sex crimes involving a young child.

Arrest warrants for Hank Smith accuse his of pointing a rifle at a woman at their Supply home Sept. 7 and threatening to kill her and her children.

The next day, a detective for the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office responded to the home for a call about sexual exploitation of a minor and indecent liberties with a minor. According to the incident log, the alleged victim is a 3-year-old girl, and the suspect is a 40-year-old white male.

A Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman would not comment on whether Smith, 40, was the suspect identified in that investigation.

Tuesday deputies tried to serve warrants for assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats on Smith at the grocery store where he works. Those charges stem from the Sept. 7 incident.

Investigators say Smith took off and led them on a high-speed chase into Horry County, SC. They say he shot at them along the way, leading to several more charges, including attempted murder.

Smith was hospitalized after the chase. Late this morning he was listed in fair condition at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach.

Smith resigned from the Leland Police Department in May 2013. His resignation came days after WWAY broke a story of a Leland man who asked the town for $100,000 to settled a claim of wrongful arrest against Smith and another Leland officer. The man later filed a federal lawsuit against the town and officers.

Stay with WWAY NewsChannel 3 for more on this developing story.


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