Facebook posts show Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Deputy Troy Smith and his wife Shantel Wagner smiling over birthday cakes and attending parties together, seemingly cheerful and affectionate.
But their life together came to an abrupt end the night of June 17, when Wagner called 911 to report that her husband had just shot himself in the head at their home on Camellia Lane in Waggaman. He was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Wagner, 35, now has been accused of firing the deadly shot. She was arrested Wednesday by Sheriff’s Office deputies and booked on a count of second-degree murder.
The decision to arrest Wagner came after deputies investigating the death came to question her account of the events leading to the shooting, a JPSO spokesman said in announcing the arrest.
He said deputies determined that the wound was not self-inflicted and obtained a warrant for Wagner’s arrest.
Social media posts give little evidence of discord in their relationship. Pictures on Wagner’s Facebook page show the couple smiling together at a formal event and kissing near a fireplace.
According to an obituary published in The Advocate, Smith was the stepfather of Wagner’s two children, as well as the father of two of his own.
Late Wednesday, Gretna attorney Leo Palazzo issued a statement saying that Wagner worked for his firm and that he knew Smith.
Palazzo said Smith "suffered from PTSD" stemming from his past military service.
"We have evidence from the day he took his own life that he was depressed, had been drinking and taking muscle relaxers and had been engaging in dark, suicidal social media posts," the statement said. "This was a suicide, not a homicide."
Wagner, he said, has been "in shock" since she saw Smith shoot himself in their home. "She's been traumatized by the whole event."
Palazzo urged the District Attorney's Office to refuse the charges against Wagner.
State business records show that Smith and Wagner were listed as officers of a consulting firm, CQB Consulting LLC, that provided tactical and concealed weapons training.
Smith was a respected instructor at the JPSO’s training academy and had also served as a negotiator on the Crisis Negotiations Team.
Before joining the JPSO, he was a member of the New Orleans Police Department from October 1995 to August 2011, serving in the Special Operations Division.
Two years ago, Smith enlisted in the Mississippi Guard, a volunteer force that primarily provides logistical and humanitarian aid during emergencies, such as hurricanes and other disasters.
In 2017, he won state and national awards as the organization's non-commissioned officer of the year, said 1st Lt. Russ Jones. He had recently received his officer’s commission and transferred to a unit headquartered in Jackson, Miss., where he was an operations training officer.
Smith “was a really good soldier,” Jones said. During his short tenure in the Mississippi Guard, he showed “the same level of dedication he displayed in his police work,” Jones said.