Deputy honored for heroism, credited with saving Judge Smith after shooting

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A deputy who gave Chancery Judge Charlie Smith medical care the morning Smith was shot outside the Lauderdale County Courthouse was honored for his heroism Thursday morning.

Surrounded by community members, Deputy Sam Upchurch received a plaque and a special thanks from Judge Smith.

Upchurch, who is also a nurse, said he rushed to the scene of the shooting as soon as he heard about it over his radio.

“I went and retrieved my medical bag from my patrol car, found Lt. Graham and Judge Smith and rendered aid to Judge Smith until a crew from Metro Ambulance could arrive and take over care,” said Upchurch.

At the scene, Upchurch said he began putting pressure on Smith's wound.

“I recognized early on that Judge Smith was losing a large amount of blood and we had to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible in order to get him to definitive care at one of our local emergency departments," said Upchurch.

Smith said Upchurch’s actions saved his life. The judge’s first day back on the bench was Wednesday.

“I probably would not be sitting here now without that contribution that Sam made, so it’s just wonderful,” said Smith. “It just means a lot to me. This is home; this is family.”

Smith said he’s excited to be back at the courthouse as he continues to recover.

“It’s been over two months and I really missed it, with rehab, I’ve got along far enough that I’m ready to come back to work,” said Smith

The person who shot Judge Smith is still at large. The East Mississippi Crime Stoppers has offered a $32,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.