DALLAS — Volleyball is Victoria Smith’s outlet, according to her mom, Heidi Smith, the widow of Dallas Police Sgt. Michael Smith.
“It’s the one thing that lets her keep going, and it is something that her dad was very involved with,” Heidi Smith said.
Heidi Smith said R.L. Turner High School’s varsity volleyball team’s Senior Night was something her husband would have cherished forever.
“He would be very proud,” she said.
Sgt. Smith lost his life on July 7, 2016, when Micah Johnson ambushed a group of police officers in Dallas, killing five officers and injuring nine others. Two civilians were also wounded. Johnson was an Army Reserve Afghan War veteran who was angry over police shootings of black men and stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. The shooting happened at the end of a protest against the police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, which had occurred in the preceding days.
Following the shooting, Johnson fled inside a building on the campus of El Centro College. Police followed him there, and a standoff ensued. In the early hours of July 8, police killed Johnson with a bomb attached to a remote control bomb disposal robot. It was the first time U.S. law enforcement used a robot to kill a suspect.
The shooting was the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
More than 60 Dallas police officers stood in Sgt. Smith’s place to recognize his oldest daughter Tuesday, Oct. 29.
“This is just another way to let them know that, ‘Hey we’re still here,’” Marcie St. John said. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Also by Victoria’s side was Katy Durkee a teammate who had been there continuously for Victoria both on and off the court.
“The night of 7/7, Victoria was spending the night with Katy and her parents had to bring her to the hospital to us,” Heidi Smith said. “So that’s kind of a special backstory that these two girls — they’ve been together and stayed friends.”
She said her family was forever grateful for all the support they’ve received.
“It’s huge,” Heidi Smith said. “They’ve all been really wonderful.”
Victoria Smith committed to playing volleyball for Austin College next year. Several officers said they were looking forward to following her college career.