Former Leland police officer to face attempted murder charges in Brunswick County is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Howard Henry Smith
Howard Henry Smith

A former Leland police lieutenant, who was sentenced 20 years in a South Carolina prison in April, has been extradited to North Carolina and will face multiple attempted murder and assault charges in Brunswick County court on Monday.

Howard Henry Smith Jr., 40, of Supply, was arrested in Horry County, South Carolina, after he reportedly led law enforcement on a high speed chase from Brunswick County on Sept. 16, 2014, according to Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman Emily Flax. Deputies were attempting to serve warrants on Smith when he fled.

“Multiple agencies, including the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office, pursued Smith, who was armed with a gun and firing shots at officers during the duration of the pursuit,” Flax said. “The chase continued into Horry County and ended on Highway 31, where Smith was taken into custody by South Carolina officials.”

On Sept. 22, 2014, Smith was indicted by a Brunswick County grand jury on three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle and felony flee to elude arrest with a motor vehicle.

At the time of his indictment in Brunswick County, Smith was being held without bond at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County, South Carolina, to face several felony charges in South Carolina court.

In April, Smith was sentenced to 20 years in the South Carolina Department of Corrections after he pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder in Horry County General Sessions Circuit Court, according to a clerk of court. As part of his plea agreement, charges of two counts of possession of a firearm and ammunition, and one count of failure to stop for blue lights were dismissed.

Smith was extradited and booked at the Brunswick County jail on Thursday without bond, according to jail records.

According to Assistant District Attorney Lee Bollinger, the State has 120 days to handle the case in Brunswick County before he returns to serve his sentence in South Carolina.

“We extradited him once they were done with him in South Carolina. And we have, based on the extradition agreement, 120 days from [Thursday] to move his case one way or another,” Bollinger said.

Smith made his first appearance Friday in Brunswick County District Court on several pending misdemeanor charges, including assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats, according to Bollinger.

According to arrest warrants, Smith was charged with allegedly pointing a AR-15 at a woman and poking the victim with the weapon on Sept. 7, 2014.

Smith is scheduled to appear in Brunswick County Superior Court on Monday to face the indicted felony charges in connection with the vehicle chase, Bollinger said.

Smith was hired with the Leland Police Department in November 2011. He resigned as a lieutenant on May 7, 2013, according to Leland Town Manager David Hollis.

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Christina Haley is a crime reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6337 or