The Shooting of Brian Smith

On August 1, 1995, beloved Ottawa sportscaster Brian Smith was gunned down in the parking lot of CJOH TV.  Smith had just finished his evening broadcast and was headed to a benefit dinner when a man armed with a long-armed rifle fired two shots at him.  Smith was hit in the head.  He died the next day in hospital.

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Brian Smith and his wife Alana Kainz

Brian Smith, was the sportscaster at CJOH TV for 22 years.  Before that he was a professional hockey player in the NHL.  He played for the LA Kings and the Minnesota North Stars in the 1960’s.  The left winger played a total of 67 games in the NHL.  Both Brian’s father and brother were also professional hockey players.  His brother Gary was a goalie.  As a sportscaster Brian was well loved and respected in the Ottawa area.  No one could imagine why anyone would want to kill him.
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At first police thought the shooting was a targeted attack but the next day after a suspect surrendered police told the media that Smith was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The suspect allegedly had a beef against the media in general and Smith just happened to be the first person he recognized in the parking lot of the TV station.  38-year-old Jeffrey Arenburg was charged with first degree murder.

Arenburg’s legal saga would drag on for many years.  Eventually he would be found Not Criminally Responsible for the death of Smith.  Arenburg was a paranoid schizophrenic who believed the media was broadcasting his thoughts and also sending messages into his head.  After spending 11 years in a psychiatric facility Arenburg was deemed recovered and released without conditions.  After his release he gave a candid interview on the CBC show the Fifth Estate.

During the interview Arenburg said he did not have a beef with Smith or his family he just happened to be walking in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Arenburg simply wanted to draw attention to all the problems he had in his life at the time.  Arenburg said he no longer heard voices in his head.  In 2017, Arenburg died of a heart attack.  He was 60 years old.

 

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