Alex Murdaugh's Shooting Seemed Like a 'Set Up,' According to 911 Call From Passerby Who Saw Him on Rural Road

Alex Murdaugh appears for his bond hearing in Richland County, South Carolina Tuesday morning.Alex Murdaugh appears for his bond hearing in Richland County, South Carolina Tuesday morning.
Alex Murdaugh appears in court for a bond hearing.Getty

Alex Murdaugh later admitted he had orchestrated the mystery Labor Day shooting in order to acquire a $10 million life insurance policy payout for his remaining son Buster.

As Alex Murdaugh told 911 operators that he had been shot last month, a passerby who also called authorities didn’t seem as convinced with his story, according to the newly released 911 call following Murdaugh’s Labor Day shooting. “There’s a man on the road with blood all over him,” a woman could be heard telling the operator. “He looks fine, but it kind of looks like a set-up.”

According to the audio files released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the disgraced former lawyer, however, told the operator he had been randomly shot – a narrative that his own lawyer Dick Harpootlian confirmed shortly later had been a lie.

“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 operator. “It was a white fellow, a fair amount younger than me, really really short hair. Ma’am I need an ambulance.”

The alleged assailant Murdaugh described, 61-year-old Curtis Smith, also later said that he did not shoot Murdaugh that day.

“I didn’t shoot him. If I’d have shot him, he’d be dead. He lied,” Smith told the “Today" show. “He said, ‘You gotta shoot me,’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘You just gotta do it, man.’ He made his move. I grabbed his arm, he put it between his eyes.”

The good Samaritan told 911 that she saw blood on Murdaugh, but Smith said he did not see blood when he was at the scene. “There was no blood on me. There was no blood on him,” he said.

Despite Murdaugh seemingly telling authorities that he did not know the attacker, Harpootlian later said that they were associates, and Murdaugh had told him to meet him on Old Salkehatchie Road that day.

“He arranged to have this guy shoot him,” Harpootlian told the “Today” show about a week-and-a-half later. Harpootlian also later called the September 4 shooting a “fake crime.”

When Murdaugh appeared in court a few weeks later on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report, witnesses did not recall seeing him with any head bandages.

Smith, however, was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated assault, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and attempt to commit insurance fraud following the shooting. He is currently out on bond set for $55,000.

Murdaugh was also out on bond and newly released from a Florida drug rehabilitation facility when he was arrested on charges stemming from the alleged misappropriation of millions of dollars in connection with the wrongful death settlement of the family’s former housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

Murdaugh was denied bond in his two charges of obtaining property by false pretenses, and is now being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia, according to inmate records.

"Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son," Murdaugh's attorneys Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said in a statement in response to the most recent charges, according to CNN. "He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders."

The Murdaughs, once a prominent South Carolina family, have been under scrutiny since the double homicide of Murdaugh's son and wife in June, in which he has been named a person of interest, his attorney Jim Griffin said.

Griffin denied that Murdaugh killed his wife or son.

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