Man who shot robber 11 times, killed him won't face criminal charges

Steven Hurston, 19, was shot and killed on March 26, during what the shooter said was an attempted robbery.
Steven Hurston, 19, was shot and killed on March 26, during what the shooter said was an attempted robbery.
photo Steven Hurston was shot to death while apparently attempting to rob another man on Hamill Road on March 26, 2016.
photo Taylor Smith, 20

A 30-year-old Chattanooga man who shot and killed a 19-year-old man in March will not face criminal charges in the slaying, according to police.

Investigators decided Joshua Smith acted within the law when he shot Steven Hurston 11 times at a Hixson apartment complex March 26.

Police believe Hurston and a woman lured Smith to the complex and tried to rob him at gunpoint, but Smith shot Hurston instead.

The woman, 20-year-old Taylor Smith, has been arrested and charged with attempted aggravated robbery. Joshua Smith, who is not related to Taylor Smith, told police that he connected with the woman on, a website where users solicit sex for money.

They arranged to meet just after midnight at an apartment complex at 1625 Hamill Road, records show. But as the pair walked toward the complex, Hurston appeared from beside a duplex, pointed a gun at Joshua Smith and demanded money.

Joshua Smith told police he refused to give Hurston any money. He pulled his own weapon as soon as he had a chance and yelled at Hurston to put down the gun, he told police. He then fired several times.

After Hurston went down, Joshua Smith called 911 and held Hurston at gunpoint until police arrived. Hurston was pronounced dead on the scene. He was shot eight times in the arms, twice in the shoulder and once in the chest, according to his autopsy.

Family members of both Hurston and Taylor Smith told investigators that the pair had been working together for some time to pull off robberies with the same approach. Family members said they'd asked Hurston and Smith to stop.

After his death, Hurston was identified as the suspect in a shooting that happened two weeks earlier, on March 13. In that case, 35-year-old Reuben Simpson was shot in the head on Cowart Street. Simpson was later able to identify the shooter as Hurston.

Hurston's death is the first in 2016 to be considered "justified" by police, but is not the only time in 2016 that an apparent would-be robber was shot and killed.

In November, 59-year-old Stan Lindsey told police he killed Delane Price when the 42-year-old tried to rob him at a Days Inn in downtown Chattanooga. On Wednesday, police said that Price's slaying is still under investigation.

Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at 423-757-6525 or with tips or story ideas. Follow @ShellyBradbury.

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