911 Calls of Alex Murdaugh Shooting Released — and Driver Thought Scene Looked 'Like a Set-Up'
South Carolina authorities have released three 911 calls from the Sept. 4 shooting of Alex Murdaugh, which his own lawyer admits was staged. In one call, a person driving by says the scene "looks like a set-up."
"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," the driver tells a 911 dispatcher. "He's fine, he looks fine, but it kinda looks like a set-up so we didn't stop."
In response, the emergency dispatcher replies, "Oh, I don't blame you."
The 911 calls released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) include two calls made by Murdaugh himself, during which the once-prominent attorney claims he was randomly shot by a "white fella."
"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 tells the dispatcher.
"Were you shot?" the dispatcher asks, to which Murdaugh responds, "Yes, but I mean, I'm okay."
When asked if he needs EMS, Murdaugh replies, "Well, I mean, yes... I can't drive ... and I'm bleeding a lot." He then says he was shot "somewhere on my head."
Two weeks later, SLED agents would arrest Murdaugh, 53, of Islandton, "in connection to a shooting incident on Sept. 4 in which he conspired with Curtis Edward Smith to assist him in committing suicide for the explicit purpose of allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance," the state's highest law enforcement agency said in a news release.
He was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in connection with the shooting. He has not entered a plea, but his attorney, Dick Harpootlian, has admitted on the Today show that Murdaugh was behind the plot.
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Harpootlian's statement echoed allegations by police that Murdaugh, whose wife and youngest son were murdered in June, asked a former client to kill him so his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, 25, could claim a $10 million payout for his death.
The alleged plot went awry when Murdaugh survived the shooting, called 911 and was airlifted to a hospital. When he was released, Murdaugh announced he was entering rehab for an admitted opioid addiction.
Authorities also arrested and charged 61-year-old Curtis Edward "Eddie" Smith for assisted suicide, aggravated assault and battery, and insurance fraud in connection with the Sept. 4 shooting.
Smith, a former Client of Murdaugh's, claims he didn't shoot Murdaugh.
In an interview with Today, Smith's attorney, Jonny McCoy said, "I think that he's being set up by a person who is a drug addict who is going through horrific withdrawals, 20 years' opioids use, and I think that he is doing exactly what people with addict behavior do."
In addition to the charges from the Sept. 4 shooting, Murdaugh also now faces charges for allegedly stealing $4.3 million from his late housekeeper's insurance settlement. He has been named a person of interest in the double homicide of his wife and son.
Authorities have not identified a motive or a suspect in the killings of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh. No one has been arrested, and authorities are giving scant information about the case — except to say that Maggie and Paul were shot with two different firearms.
Another of Murdaugh's attorneys recently revealed he is a person of interest in the case. But the attorney, Jim Griffin, told FOX Carolina News that at the time of the killings, his client was visiting his mother, who suffers from dementia. "He had no motive to kill them," Griffin told the station.
Murdaugh has not entered a plea in the charges against him from the Sept. 4 shooting or the alleged theft of his housekeeper's insurance settlement.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Oct. 14, attorneys Harpootlian and Griffin, said, "Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son. He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders."