An Estill police officer recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered on duty Jan. 1 was previously a well-known, well-liked officer patrolling the campus of the University of South Carolina-Beaufort.
Officer Quincy Smith was shot twice while chasing 27-year-old Malcolm Orr after a robbery attempt, according to reports from the Estill Police Department and the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. Orr was arrested about two hours after Smith's shooting and charged with attempted murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.
Smith underwent surgery at a hospital in Savannah and is now recuperating at home, said Estill police administrative assistant and victim's advocate Kim Wiley.
"He just has an angel on shoulder," said Smith's former colleague, USCB assistant police chief Thomas Aiken, about the shooting.
Smith joined the Estill department in August 2015 after several years spent on campus at USCB, working his way up from a student to joining the police force in the spring of 2014, Aiken said.
"He was very tough in making the kids behave, but they respected him and loved him," Aiken said.
Becoming a police officer was a family affair for Smith. His mother Gwendolyn is a retired New York Police Department officer and now works for a federal agency, Aiken said. Gwendolyn Smith drove 13 hours to South Carolina after her son's shooting and hasn't left his side since, Aiken said.
While Smith was hospitalized, officers from his new and old police departments went to visit him, Aiken and Wiley said. Messages of well-wishes and support have flooded the officer's Facebook page, and friends and colleagues have played a "round robin" of telephone calls, emails and hospital visits to get the latest updates on his recovery, Aiken said.
Despite his injuries and the physical therapy he faces to return to duty, Wiley said Smith has remained in good spirits since the day of his shooting.
"He's just a sweetheart, just a dedicated employee," she said. "He's a very blessed guy."
Aiken said he has no doubts Smith will quickly return to duty.
"He's got a long road ahead of him, but he's a hard worker," Aiken said. "He'll work through it and get there."
Smith's mother has set up a GoFundMe page to help allay the costs of his hospital bills.
Attempts to reach Smith for comment Friday were unsuccessful.
Follow reporter Matt McNab on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.