State senator allegedly shot at his ex-wife 10 times

County charges Virgil Smith

Virgil Smith, the 35-year-old state senator who comes from a long lineage of elected officials, had one busy, troublesome week.

The Detroit legislator found himself chest-deep in legal woes last week after, at 1 a.m. one night, he awoke to find his ex-wife at the door of his home on Detroit's north side. When his ex-wife discovered another woman inside, things quickly escalated. According to law enforcement officials, Smith then physically assaulted his ex-wife and, when she left, proceeded to shoot at her 2015 Mercedes up to 10 times with a rifle.

Smith, who reportedly was naked at the time of the incident, told officers in one of the understatements of the year that it was one of the dumbest things he's ever done in his life.

The Detroit native has yet to step down from his position representing Senate District 4, which includes parts of Detroit, Lincoln Park, and Allen Park. And his colleagues in Lansing have a mixed opinion, with some calling for his resignation, while the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement calling for patience, saying, "Like any other individual, Senator Smith remains innocent until proven guilty. While some are calling for his resignation, it is the opinion of this body that any punitive action taken at this time would be premature."

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy wasted no time reviewing the matter, charging Smith by the middle of the week with felonious assault, malicious destruction of personal property $20,000 or more, domestic violence assault, and battery and felony firearm.

Smith was arraigned in 36th District Court and received a $25,000 bond; he posted the required 10 percent of that sum and was subsequently released.

In a statement, Worthy said, "The alleged actions of Senator Smith cannot and will not be tolerated. We asked for further work on the warrant and the information was received this morning. We let the facts and evidence guide our charging decision and nothing else."

Worthy previously passed on prosecuting Smith for a 2010 drunken driving incident.

Smith was pulled over that year and arrested for drinking-and-driving; he admitted he had three shots of Hennessey before getting behind the wheel. It would've been his third impaired driving charge, which would've resulted in a felony. But Worthy's office decided against pursuing the case, citing a conflict of interest: Smith's father serves as a Wayne County Third District Court judge.

The state attorney general's office reviewed the matter and asked the Washtenaw County sheriff to handle the case. Washtenaw County Assistant Prosecutor Konrad Siller found Smith registered a .154 BAC, nearly double the legal limit. He tossed the case due to "insufficient admissible evidence," according to a memo, which was first reported by MLive.

Smith is due back in court May 22 for a probable cause conference.

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