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NORTH LIMA Shootout leaves fugitive injured



Published: Tue, June 26, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The 44-year-old fugitive is wanted in other states on various charges.

NORTH LIMA -- Peter James Smith made a mistake in drawing a handgun when confronted by law enforcement officers.

The 44-year-old fugitive was in critical condition in St. Elizabeth Health Center today after being wounded twice in a shootout with officers at a North Lima motel.

Smith was arrested at 11:15 a.m. Monday by the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force and Beaver Township Police on warrants charging him with escape and parole violation.

A brief gunfight occurred as officers took Smith, who was armed, into custody at the motel, the FBI said.

Smith, who was born in New York and has used a Market Street, Youngstown, address in the past, has a criminal history involving violence, the FBI said.

The FBI, which participates with a host of local law enforcement agencies in the task force, said it is investigating the shooting.

Carl N. Frost, Beaver Township police chief, said his department received a call Sunday afternoon from Youngstown police, who said they had received a tip that Smith was staying at a North Lima motel.

Tipped off: The mother-in-law of Smith's ex-girlfriend, who lives in Boardman, received a call last week from a sergeant at a sheriff's department in Florida, who told her that Smith had escaped from a work release program and was likely headed to Youngstown. The sergeant said Smith was driving a silver Dodge Intrepid, a rental car with Illinois plates.

Smith had made threats in writing against his ex-girlfriend, who also lives in Boardman, saying he would come after her for putting him in jail, according to the mother-in-law. The ex-girlfriend had apparently cooperated with Florida authorities against Smith two years ago, reports show.

Between last Friday and Sunday, a woman who had been with Smith visited the mother-in-law, asking about the ex-girlfriend. He was also spotted at a Hubbard Road bar last Thursday night.

Township police found Smith's car at 1 a.m. Monday at the Davis Motel, 10860 Market St., just south of the Ohio Turnpike. They went to the room where his car was parked, finding others, but not Smith, in that room, Frost said, adding that it turned out Smith had been in another room.

Later Monday morning, a township police officer thought he saw Smith at the motel office, and soon thereafter, the task force arrived, Frost said. Smith drew a handgun when task force members confronted him at the motel office, Frost said. No injuries were reported.

Charges: A warrant was issued May 23 charging Smith with escaping from Union County, Fla., jail, Frost said. Smith was also wanted by U.S. Marshals in Arlington, Va., for violating a probation that had been imposed for possession of dangerous weapons, Frost added.

Smith also was wanted on a check forgery charge in Hagerstown, Md., and for failure to appear in court in Morris County, Pa., on a fraud charge, Frost said.




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