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Police: Man punches fire chief performing CPR on his wife

In the chaotic encounter, emergency units were unable to save the woman, who had suffered an asthma attack

By Jared Boyd
Alabama Media Group

ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Ala. — An Escambia County man is behind bars after attacking a local fire chief while the official performed an emergency response procedure on the suspect’s wife. In the chaotic encounter, emergency units were unable to save the woman’s life.

A call came into the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 6:45 p.m. Thursday night reporting a female having an asthma attack. EMS units responded to the scene on the 9000 block of Appleton Road in Brewton. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area, as well, after recognizing the address was involved in a domestic dispute earlier in the day.

"(EMS and Fire) made the decision to stage a short distance away from the residence awaiting law enforcement’s arrival,” a release issued Friday from ECSO reads.

At the scene, units received information that the woman inside might not be breathing. In order to assess the situation, units changed their decision to let law enforcement lead the way, upon going into the residence. Instead, they wen ahead without officers.

Inside, they found the woman’s husband, Christopher Wade Smith, attempting to give her CPR. As Fire Chief Michael Tyler began to assist in providing medical attention to the woman, Smith punched him in the right eye, deputies say.

The attack resulted in “serious injury and fractures”, according to officials.

EMS was able to remove the woman from the home, loading her onto an ambulance, where she was taken to D.W. McMillan Hospital.

She was pronounced as dead shortly after her arrival.

During the incident, Smith attempted to flee the scene, subsequently driving into a firefighter’s vehicle. Smith was arrested and charged with first-degree assault and second-degree criminal mischief.

He is currently being held at Escambia County Detention Center.

Smith was out on bond when the incident took place. The Escambia County District Attorney’s Office has filed for Smith’s bond to be revoked while he is being investigated in this case.

Smith’s wife, whose identity has yet to be released, has been transported to Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for an autopsy as investigators hope to determine her cause of death.

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