By Beth Lawrence


A former Jackson County deputy sheriff pleaded guilty to a firearm offense stemming from an incident earlier this year on the campus of Western Carolina University.

Edward Jason Smith, 27, of Sylva was arrested for felony discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle, discharging a firearm on educational property and possession of a firearm on an educational property, and misdemeanor going armed to the terror of the public and child abuse.

Smith pleaded guilty to discharging a weapon on educational property on Sept. 23, and all other charges were dropped as part of the plea deal. He received a probation sentence of no less than 16 months and no more than 29.

Smith is mandated to undergo a substance abuse and anger management assessment and follow any recommendations for treatment. He is required to pay $382 cost of court, $150 restitution and a $50 fine. Smith is not allowed on WCU property or to be around the victim.

Smith’s probation will be transferred to Charlotte County, Florida. His case will be reviewed in June 2020.

Smith was arrested on March 4 after an altercation in the south baseball parking lot on WCU’s campus.

Smith and a companion with two small children attended the Harlem GlobeTrotters exhibition game at the Ramsey Center that evening, said Assistant District Attorney Andrew Buckner.

“As they were leaving; the victim, we believe, almost hit them in the crosswalk, apologized and drove into the south parking lot,” Buckner said. 

Court documents allege Smith then got into his vehicle, located the victim and continued the altercation.

During the argument, Smith drew a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun and discharged it into the tire of the victim’s 2006 Toyota Avalon.

Smith was dismissed from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in 2017 following an alleged domestic violence incident.

He was arrested on May 17, 2017 and charged with misdemeanor assault on a female. Smith was accused of attacking Amber English at a home on Lantana Drive.

Smith was a patrol deputy with the sheriff’s office for 18 months.