Patrol Officer William Smith and another officer raided a house of prostitution.
At this time in 1909, the department had made seventeen raids on houses of prostitution in Joplin. Officers Smith and Graney made two arrests in a raid at 802 Main Street and were escorting the women back to the station. As they walked one of the women's husband, William Schmulbach, ran up demanding to know what had happened. The woman said she had been arrested and struck by Officer Ganey during the arrest. Schmulbach began firing on both officers striking Officer Ganey in both knees and Officer Smith in the lower chest passing through his body. Officer Smith returned fire before he fell. Surgery was performed on Officer Smith and it was discovered that the bullet had entered his right lung. He died at 12:03 am.
Schmulbach was apprehended in Washington in 1911 and returned to Joplin for trial. In November 1911 he was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Officer Smith.
Officer Smith became a member of the Joplin Police Department only a few months prior to the shooting.