Ten years after surviving Kirkwood shooting, reporter pens novel about his experience

Todd Allen Smith is a former reporter for the Suburban Journals, among other midwestern outlets, and a former board member for the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists. He has been shot twice, 10 years apart, and with each bullet that entered his body he faced the struggle to reclaim his life. As he told the Webster Journal, he still has to scan a room for an escape route every time he goes out, and it has had a lasting physical and emotional impact.

Now retired from journalism and settled in Edwardsville, Ill., Smith has written a roman a clef about the two shootings, his life in between them, and living as a gay man in the midwest at the turn of the century. Here’s some thoughts from Todd about the book and the aftermath of the shooting.

In my book Murder, Romance and Two Shootings, I share the difficulties of covering the news after seeing someone murdered right before your eyes.

When I was a St. Louis Suburban Journals reporter, I was shot while covering a Kirkwood City Council meeting. Cookie Thornton shot six people at the council meeting on February 7, 2008. Within a few months, I was the only survivor. In the book I relate being a journalist and suddenly being part of the story, and the long recovery afterwards since I was shot in the hand.

This was not the first time I was shot. At age 26, I was shot in a robbery attempt while I was looking for my first reporter position. Between these two tragic incidents, my close friend was killed in a gay bashing while I was working at a gay newspaper, and the murderers have still not been found.

My fictionalized memoir Murder, Romance, and Two Shootings will be released Monday, June 18. The book provides an eyewitness account of a reporter and what it is to be on the front lines of tragedy.

My first reading/signing will be on Wednesday, June 20th, from 6 pm to 8:30 pm at the Schlafly Library at 225 N Euclid Ave. in St. Louis. I will also be at Tower Grove Pride and will have a booth and do signings on Saturday, June 23, from 12 pm to 8 pm at Tower Grove Park at Arsenal and South Grand.

Read some local press stories about Todd and his new book here! 

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