911 calls released from Alex Murdaugh shooting — a botched insurance fraud scheme, police say

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GREENVILLE, S.C. — Audio recordings of 911 calls made after former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was shot in September have been released. Police say the shooting was a botched insurance fraud scheme.

In the Sept. 4 calls, Murdaugh told a 911 dispatcher he was "bleeding pretty bad" and having trouble seeing after being shot in the head by another man while trying to change a tire on the side of the road. The recordings were released by The State Law Enforcement Division.

Murdaugh and another man are facing criminal charges for the alleged plot. State police have said it was a failed scheme in an attempt to have Murdaugh's former client shoot him so that he could secure a $10 million life insurance payout for his son, Buster Murdaugh.

Murdaugh, a member of a well-known legal family in Hampton County that ran a local prosecutor's office for more than 80 years, called 911 himself after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. He told a dispatcher he was pulled over on Salkehatchie Road in Hampton for a flat tire and got out to change the tire when he was approached from behind and shot.

Related video: Timeline of Murdaugh murders and botched insurance fraud plot

He spent about a minute trying to describe his location to the dispatcher before stating that he was shot.

Money, murder, mystery: Another twist unfolds in case of former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh

Murdaugh: "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."

Dispatcher: Oh, were you shot?

Murdaugh: Yes, but I mean I'm OK.

Dispatcher: Where were you shot at?

Murdaugh: Huh?

Dispatcher: Did they actually shoot you or did they try to shoot you?

Murdaugh: They shot me.

Murdaugh has been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in connection with the Labor Day weekend shooting.

Curtis Smith, the man who was at the scene with Murdaugh, was charged Sept. 14 with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. State police say Alex Murdaugh admitted to the plot and Smith later confessed to being present at his shooting.

Alex Murdaugh had previously represented Smith.

During the 911 call, a dispatcher asked Murdaugh to describe the alleged shooter and he began to describe him as a "white fella" with short hair and much younger than Murdaugh. He did not indicate at the time that he knew the man, Curtis, or that he was a former client.

A passerby also called 911 to report the incident, telling a dispatcher she thought it seemed like "a setup."

Caller: "There is a man on the side of the road with blood all over him waving his hands."

Dispatcher: He’s just laying there waving his hands around?

Caller: He looks fine but it kind of looks like a set up.

Others at the scene stopped to help Alex Murdaugh after the shooting and began driving him to a hospital until an ambulance arrived. Murdaugh was later flown to a hospital from a helicopter landing zone on Charleston Highway.

Alex Murdaugh's attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, have since released their client's medical records to show that he suffered significant injuries from a gunshot to the head including a skull fracture and a subdural hemorrhage.

More: Alex Murdaugh medical records detail injuries from alleged plot

Smith also appeared on the Today Show to say he never willfully shot Murdaugh. His lawyer, Jarrett Bouchette, told The Greenville News that Smith struggled with Murdaugh in attempt to wrestle the gun away from Alex Murdaugh rather that carry out Murdaugh's alleged plot.

Days after the shooting, Alex Murdaugh announced he was admitting himself into a drug rehabilitation facility based on a lengthy opioid addiction. In June, his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and son, Paul Murdaugh, were shot and killed. SLED is still investigating that case.

Follow Daniel J. Gross on Twitter: @danieljgross

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller, Michael M. DeWitt, Jr. and Jim Sergent, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: 911 calls released of Alex Murdaugh shooting, alleged fraud scheme

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