WJTV News Channel 12 - Friend describes fallen officer, Detective Eric Smith

Friend describes fallen officer, Detective Eric Smith

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It came across the WJTV police scanner and every police scanner in the area: "officer down."

"You want to get there to help your brother or your sister," says Captain Joseph Daughtry of the Hinds County Sheriff's Department.

But it was too late. Their brother, Detective Eric Smith, was gone. Captain Daughtry lost more than a coworker. He lost a friend.

"Doubt," says Captain Daughtry, about what he felt when he learned Detective Smith had died. "It couldn't be. I didn't want to believe it, because I had just saw him over the weekend."

A little-known fact about Detective Eric Smith? He lived and breathed Saints football.

"We were talking about going to see the Saints and the Cowboys in New Orleans," says Captain Daughtry. "He's a die-hard Saints fan."

A few years ago, Detective Smith took us around his "Saintsuary"--his man-cave dedicated to New Orleans Saints Sundays.

"He kept everybody laughing," says Captain Daughtry. "He was well loved, and he was well respected."

Now, people are returning that love, respect and prayer to his family.

"If there ever was a time for us to join together and let the officers and family know that we are behind them, it's now," says Bishop Charles Bloom of New Hope Evangelist Temple.

Governor Phil Bryant, a one-time law enforcement officer himself, offers this: "Each one of these men that go out today place their life on the line. A terrible tragedy could occur before the day is over. So we're just remembering their service and hoping they'll continue to stay safe."

"Any day, it could be any one of us," says Captain Daughtry.

Detective Smith is the 15th Jackson Police Officer killed in the line-of-duty.

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