Virginia Beach Correctional Center inmate dies by suicide

Fred Smith Jr. mug
Fred Smith Jr., 28

An inmate at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center died by suicide this morning.

While conducting a routine security check at 12:25 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, a deputy sheriff found Fred Smith Jr., 28, of Portsmouth, unresponsive in his cell. The deputy immediately started rescue efforts, including calling for assistance and providing first aid. Despite receiving medical attention from the deputy, jail medical staff, the Virginia Beach Fire Department and Virginia Beach Emergency Medical Services, medics declared Smith deceased at 1 a.m.

Smith was booked into the Virginia Beach Correctional Center on April 28, 2023, on a felony charge of assault on a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor charge of attempting to disarm a law enforcement officer. He was denied bond by a magistrate and received a full medical and mental health screening by jail medical staff. Smith was last checked on by a deputy during a routine security check at 12:05 a.m.

As with all in-custody deaths, the incident is being investigated by the Virginia Beach Police Department and Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office. The incident has also been reported to the Virginia Department of Corrections, which reviews all in-custody deaths and has the authority to investigate. No foul play is suspected.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Norfolk will determine the official cause and manner of death.

Sheriff Ken Stolle and the Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office send their sincere condolences to Smith’s friends and family.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office takes suicide prevention seriously and screens all inmates for mental illness, history of depression and suicidal tendencies.

Any questions or requests for additional information from the news media may be directed to Public Information Officer Toni Guagenti at tguagenti@vbso.net, 757-385-8446 (office) or 757-373-5012 (cell).