ANGOLA, Ind. (WANE) The man accused of fatally shooting his father in the middle of a rural Steuben County roadway on Wednesday was formally charged with murder Thursday.
Cody S. Smith, 25, is accused of shooting his father, 51-year-old Rusty Smith, in the road in front of the elder Smith’s home at 5325 W. 400N, near West Orland Road. Smith was arraigned via video-conference in Steuben Superior Court at 1 p.m. Thursday. The Steuben County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Smith is behind held without bond in the Steuben County Jail.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed Thursday morning, Cody Smith shot his father in the forehead during an argument.
Police were called around 12:35 p.m. to a home at 5325 West 400 North after a passerby – mail carrier, according to the affidavit – reported finding the man down in the roadway. That mail carrier told police she had been driving down the roadway when she saw a man walk up to her mail truck and claim he needed help.
The mail carrier said she then saw a man – Rusty Smith – down in the roadway and bleeding, the affidavit said.
The mail carrier told police the man claimed he did not have a gun, only a shell, which he showed her. He said his finger prints would be on the casing, the mail carrier said. The mail carrier said she then drove off and called police.
Just after 2 p.m. Wednesday, then, police interviewed a witness who said she was at the scene inside a truck on the side of the road when the shooting happened. The woman said she’d driven Cody Smith’s girlfriend Carly Carter to find her baby and Cody Smith, the affidavit said.
The woman told police she then saw Cody Smith walk up the roadway to a home, and overheard him saying “a lot of random things and not making any sense,” the affidavit said.
A short time later the woman said she saw Rusty Smith walk up the road, as well, and begin talking to Cody Smith, who was on the porch of the home, the affidavit detailed. The pair met in the roadway and began to argue, the woman said.
The woman said she then heard Rusty Smith say, “If you don’t believe me, then put a bullet in my head,” then said she watched as Cody Smith took a step back, pulled a handgun from his back pocket and shoot Rusty Smith in the head, the affidavit said. The woman said blood flew from the back of Rusty Smith’s head and he fell to the ground, the affidavit said.
The woman said Carly Carter told her not to call 911. The woman told police she then drove off, around Rusty Smith’s lifeless body, the affidavit said.
Police arrested Cody Smith at a Nevada Mills Road home a short time later.
During an interview with police, he admitted, “I shot my dad in the forehead.” Later, though, when asked why he shot his father dead, he said he didn’t.
Detectives noted in the affidavit that Cody Smith was “making random statements,” and was agitated one second and crying the next. Cody Smith said in the interview with police he “liked to get high.”
Neighbors said they’re still in such a state of shock and remember Rusty Smith as a friend to all.
“Oh, I’ve known Rusty my whole life. I can’t remember not knowing him,” neighbor Lakeisha Beebe said. “He was very caring. You could always count on him. You always knew when he was around, he would make sure nothing happened to your house. He knew our schedules pretty well. You would never ever see Rusty without Addy and a fishing pole. He was always just walking around, always making sure everything was okay.”
Beebe described Smith as a well-known man with an uncommon outlook.
“His aspect on life was just a lot different than people nowadays. He was just a total different person than you know, they don’t make people like that anymore, I should say. He was very caring, always looking out for everybody else, never bothered anyone whatsoever,” Beebe said. “He was very observant and very cautious about who came around because it’s like, we’re a very small town and we know who comes and goes, this, that, and the other.”
Neighbors are still devastated that this family man’s life could have been taken by one of his own.
“I really do think he would’ve done anything in the world for his kids,” Beebe said. “Pure and utter shock, I didn’t even understand what happened at first.