Minutes after Alex Murdaugh called Hampton County dispatchers claiming a “white fella” pulled over and shot him point-blank in the head on a South Carolina backroad, authorities began to receive calls from witnesses who cast immediate doubt on the lawyer’s extraordinary tale.
“We are on Salkehatchie Road and there is a male on the side of the road with blood all over him and he’s waving his hands,” a woman told emergency dispatchers, according to newly released 911 calls obtained by The Daily Beast. “He’s fine—he looks fine but it kinda looks like a set-up so we didn’t stop.”
The call came just minutes after Murdaugh told a Hampton County dispatcher that he had stopped alongside a church after getting a flat tire and someone pulled over and offered to help him. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division released three 911 calls from the Sept. 4 incident on Friday, totaling 11 minutes, as the roiling saga continues to make national headlines.
Nine days after the purported shooting, Murdaugh—who was already in the news following his wife and son’s June murder—confessed to authorities that he had orchestrated the incident with his alleged drug dealer, Curtis Edward Smith, in an attempt to secure a $10 million insurance payout for his only surviving son, Buster. Murdaugh’s legal team did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment Friday.
“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,” Murdaugh told the dispatcher, adding that he had been shot “somewhere on my head” and that he was “bleeding a lot.”
“Were you shot?” the 911 dispatcher asked Murdaugh, to which the lawyer responded, “Yes, but I mean, I’m OK.”
“You need EMS?” the dispatcher asked.
“Well, I mean, yes... I can’t drive,” Murdaugh responded, adding, “And I’m bleeding a lot.”
Hospital records obtained by The Daily Beast last week show Murdaugh suffered from “two superficial appearing bullet wounds to the posterior scalp,” a skull fracture, and brain bleeding. When he arrived at the hospital, he also complained about an “excruciating headache” and temporary loss of vision. The injuries are consistent with what Murdaugh’s legal team previously told The Daily Beast. They denied that the gunshots were self-inflicted.
Smith, however, has been touting a different version of events than what Murdaugh’s lawyers, the hospital records, and state authorities have argued. Last week, Smith went on several national television shows to claim that he refused Murdaugh’s request to be shot in the head—and that he does not believe the legal scion was shot at all.
“I didn't shoot him,” Smith said during an interview on Today last Thursday. “I’m innocent. If I’d have shot him, he’d be dead. He’s alive.”
And while the latest 911 calls shed some more light on what happened to Murdaugh that day, SLED has been consistently vague about what actually went down. In an arrest affidavit, SLED said that on Sept. 4 “Murdaugh supplied Mr. Smith with a firearm and directed Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head,” but the affidavit does not go into detail as to whether Smith complied with the request or whether injuries were sustained.
The affidavit states that Murdaugh eventually confessed to the scheme and named Smith as the shooter. Smith, who has denied he was Murdaugh’s drug dealer, was also charged with the distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana last month.
Since the Labor Day shooting and the shocking admission that it was a botched suicide attempt, Murdaugh’s legal troubles have only grown. On Tuesday, a judge denied Murdaugh bail and ordered him to remain in jail pending a psychiatric evaluation on charges he stole millions from a wrongful-death settlement meant for the sons of his former housekeeper.
Murdaugh has also been hit with several lawsuits, including accusations he embezzled millions from his former law firm and clients. The scion, who was until recently in rehab for his opioid addiction, has also been identified as a person of interest in his wife and son’s June murder.