Dwayne Smith lunged at Clifford Thomas in a Detroit, Michigan courtroom on Thursday

By Char Adams
Updated August 31, 2015 05:20 PM

A hectic scene broke out in a Detroit, Michigan, courtroom last Thursday when a grieving father attacked the man charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of his 3-year-old daughter, according to multiple reports.

Dwayne Smith went to the courtroom to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing of the mother of his deceased daughter, Jasmine Gordon, and her boyfriend Clifford Thomas, both of whom were convicted of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month. But before he addressed the court, Smith lunged at Thomas and punched him in the head, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“It was pretty scary,” attorney John McWilliams told the Free Press.

A video of the incident recorded by WDIV-TV shows the initial punch and Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies rushing to separate the two men as Gordon, the mother, is heard weeping. Smith and Thomas are heard yelling at each other before deputies pull Thomas out of the courtroom.

Gordon and Smith’s daughter, Jamila Smith, died in September 2014 of multiple blunt force injuries, a Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office spokesman told the Free Press. Her death was ruled a homicide.

A jury convicted Gordon of first-degree child abuse and involuntary manslaughter, and Thomas with involuntary manslaughter and resisting and obstructing a police officer, WDIV-TV reports.

A spokesman for the sheriff’s office told the Free Press that Smith was not held in contempt of court and would not be charged in the assault.

Later in the day, Thomas was sentenced to up to 15 years for the manslaughter charge and one to two years for resisting and obstructing a police officer, according to the Free Press.

Gordon will serve seven to 15 years for involuntary manslaughter and 14-25 years for the child abuse conviction, the paper reports. Her sentences will be served simultaneously.

Gordon has a 7-year-old son who, WDIV-TV reports, will be adopted by her sister.

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