Tyler man who shot 2 in dentist office charged with capital murder of multiple persons

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith gives update on shooting off Highway 31
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 2:58 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Smith County deputies responded to a shooting Wednesday afternoon in a medical facility. Tyler police were called to a second scene where the suspect had barricaded himself inside a home in the city.

The shooter has been identified as Steven Alexander Smith, 40, of Tyler. On Wednesday night, Smith was booked into the Smith County Jail on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and Capital Murder of multiple persons. He is held on a total of $3 million bond.

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Sheriff Larry Smith said that the original 911 call came In around 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. The caller said there was a shooter at Affordable Dentures at 3081 Hwy 31 East near Tyler. When deputies arrived, they found two men had been shot. They were located in the lobby of the dental office. Deputies performed life-saving efforts until EMS arrived.

Steven Alexander Smith was a patient at the denture clinic, Sheriff Smith said. He became angry at the clinic staff, went out to his pickup in the parking lot, and grabbed his handgun. He went back inside the dental office and was met by clinic personnel. He pointed the gun at the staff, ultimately shooting the two dentists.

After he shot the men, he fled in his truck on Hwy 31 back toward Tyler. A witness had thought to take a picture of his license plate and gave it to deputies. Several minutes alter, a deputy found Steven Smith pulling into the driveway of his South Tyler home. He ran inside the house. Deputies and Tyler police officers set up a perimeter around the home.

Smith County SWAT, Tyler PD SWAT, and Smith County negotiators responded to the house, and after several minutes, two people, the parents of Steven Smith, emerged from the house.

Several minutes later, Smith himself came out of the house and surrendered to law enforcement.

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The two victims were taken to UT Health East Texas by UT Health EMS. They both died from their gunshot wounds.

Witness to shooting said she hid behind lobby wall

The investigation is ongoing, Sheriff Smith said.

Shooting scene off Highway 31 near Tyler

A witness to the whole incident, Christy Burris, spoke to KLTV and said she saw the patient in a physical altercation on the floor. The suspect was a larger man than the dentist, she said. She said the patient left the building, came back in with what she said was a .9 millimeter pistol, and started shooting.

Burris was in the lobby with about 10 other patients at the time. She said she had to hide behind a wall.

“The gentlemen had grabbed the doctor and was trying to sling him around and the other male, he’s quite bigger than the doctor, younger of course, and they were fighting and wrestling. There wasn’t a whole lot said,” Burris said. “The gentlemen went out to his truck and got his gun and came back in. Nobody seen him grab the gun and when he come back in, he started wrestling again and that’s when he started open fire.”

She said that he shot the dentist and another man who worked there, and then made a receptionist take him into the back of the office where she heard him say he was going to get his dentures. She said that she heard him say he wanted a refund but that he also wanted to keep his dentures. She believes that is what sparked the argument and ultimately, the shooting.

The shooting is on Hwy 31 E. At least on victim has been confirmed.
The shooting is on Hwy 31 E. At least on victim has been confirmed.(Viewer Photos)

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