It was New Year’s morning in 2016, and the cop with the call-sign Echo 7 was on the trail of a belligerent man in Estill, S.C.
Officer Quincy Smith was called to investigate a suspicious man trying to snatch groceries from a convenience store in the small town of about 2,000 people.
Smith, wearing glasses outfitted with a video camera, speaks to a woman in the store. She gestures toward a park and says a man later identified as Malcolm Antwan Orr, 29, in a camouflage hunting outfit, is under a tree some distance away. Smith pursues Orr in his patrol car and gets out to confront him.
“Come here for a second,” Smith calls out. No answer.
Orr keeps walking. “Come here!” Smith yells. No answer.
Orr walks with his left hand holding a cellphone to his ear. His right hand is concealed in his jacket. Smith commands him to take it out.
“If you don’t stop, I’m going to Tase you!” Smith roars.
Orr looks back, and in one crackling motion, flashes a 9mm pistol and fires multiple shots, sending Smith tumbling to the ground. Orr continues to fire rounds at Smith as he goes to the ground, eight shots in total, before he flees.
“Shots fired!” Smith yells into his handheld radio, the high-definition image spinning as if the glasses were flung from the roof of a building. Smith scrambles to the patrol car to alert his dispatch.
The horrific scene and near death of Smith was captured on the video released Thursday, a day after the conviction and sentencing of Orr, who faces 35 years in prison for attempted murder and gun-related charges, South Carolina’s 14th Circuit’s Solicitor’s Office said in a news release.
A physician would later testify a bullet severed a vein on the right side of his neck. Another round passed through his upper torso and lodged into his back. Both of his arms were broken. Smith is still recovering from his injuries and remains on medical leave, according to WJCL 22.
Smith approaches the car, and his badge shimmers in a reflection caught in the driver’s side window. His hands are slick with blood as he adjusts the radio frequency.
“Dispatch, I’m hit! Dispatch, Echo 7, I’m hit!” Smith yells in a panicked tone, gasping for breath.
He takes a moment and then makes a quieter plea: “Dispatch, help.”
Radio chatter from dispatch fills the car, mingling with an R&B song on the radio. It’s “Waffles/Eggs” by the artist Trey Songz. Its first chorus ends on a prophetic line: “I won’t leave without you, I won’t leave without you.”
A bystander, who witnessed the shooting, approaches Smith and offers to help. He identifies himself as J. Thompkins.
“Stay with me,” Thompkins says. “Stay with me, man,” he repeats as he struggles to figure out how he can best help Smith, who goes to the ground outside his patrol car. Smith keys up his radio to give an update on his situation, alerting the dispatch team that he is bleeding from the neck.
“Dispatch, please tell my family I love them,” he says.
It appears Smith asks Thompkins for help putting pressure on wounds as the bystander reassures him, and at one point takes over radio duties from Smith.
Seven minutes after Orr fired his first shots, emergency sirens blare in the distance. Several women off-camera approach the scene, appearing to know Smith.
“Quincy, you okay, baby?” one woman wails. “Oh God, Jesus…You know who shot you, Quincy?”
First responders arrive and begin their work. A paramedic removes Smith’s glasses and moves them aside as Thompkins speaks with another officer as they develop a plan to pursue Orr.
One of the last images the upside down camera records is an inverted ambulance. It will take Smith to Memorial Health Medical Center in Savannah, Ga., where Dr. James Dunne will save his life.
Derek Hawkins contributed to this story.