‘It kinda looks like a set-up’: Witness’s 911 call casts doubt on Alex Murdaugh’s shooting story

‘He looks fine but it kinda looks like a set-up so we didn’t stop,’ a 911 caller said after seeing attorney covered in blood

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 22 October 2021 22:08

Alex Murdaugh’s lawyer insists he really was shot in the head

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A pair of 911 calls from the night Alex Murdaugh was allegedly shot have cast doubt on his story.

Mr Murdaugh, a former South Carolina attorney mired in criminal investigations, has told police he was shot in the head while changing a tire on his car – although he later admitted he arranged the shooting himself. Now, 911 calls obtained by The Daily Beast raise even more questions about what happened that night.

In one of the 4 September calls, a witness who was driving down the road Mr Murdaugh was on tells police she’s just seen a man covered in blood – but even at a glance, the scene looked staged.

“We are on Salkehatchie Road and there is a man on the side of the road with blood all over him and he’s waving his hands,” the caller says. “He’s fine – he looks fine but it kinda looks like a set-up so we didn’t stop.”

Mr Murdaugh’s own 911 call that night is also unusual. For someone who’s just been shot in the head, the former lawyer sounds remarkably calm and collected, and plays down the seriousness of his injuries.

“I got a flat tire, and I stopped, and somebody stopped to help me, and when I turned my back, they tried to shoot me,” he tells the dispatcher.

“Were you shot?” the 911 dispatcher asks.

“Yes, but I mean, I’m OK,” Mr Murdaugh responds.

Less than two weeks later, Mr Murdaugh turned himself in to police and confessed to arranging his own death as part of a scheme to bequeath $10m in life insurance money to his son, Buster. (Mr Murdaugh believed the insurance company would not give Buster the money if his death was a suicide.)

The disgraced lawyer told police the shooter was his former client, Curtis Edward Smith. But Mr Smith, who was charged with the shooting, says he never shot him.

“I didn’t shoot him,” Mr Smith told the Today show. “I’m innocent. If I’d have shot him, he’d be dead. He’s alive.”

Mr Murdaugh’s lawyers have consistently maintained that he was, in fact, shot by Mr Smith. And police and hospital records appear to indicate that he was indeed shot in the head.

On the night of the alleged shooting, police wrote that Mr Murdaugh was treated at a hospital for a “superficial gunshot wound to the head.” In hospital records obtained by Fox Carolina’s Cody Alcorn, doctors said Mr Murdaugh suffered from “two superficial appearing bullet wounds to the posterior scalp with no active hemorrhage,” a “parietal skull fracture,” and “underlying small subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage.”

Jim Griffin, an attorney for Mr Murdaugh, says these records should put to rest any questions about whether Mr Murdaugh was shot that night.

“Bloggers have questioned whether he was shot based on his hair style, not upon actual records,” Mr Griffin has said. “These records answer that question. He really was shot.”

Since this past summer, Mr Murdaugh’s name has appeared in a series of bizarre headlines, each one more shocking than the last. First, in June, his wife and son were shot dead. Then Mr Murdaugh himself was shot, and later confessed to the insurance fraud scheme. Meanwhile, police have reopened investigations into the deaths of Mr Murdaugh’s housekeeper and a seemingly unrelated teenager who died under mysterious circumstances.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Murdaugh’s lawyers for additional comment.

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