Family of San Miguel man puzzled by Paso Robles shooting

The stepmother of a San Miguel man charged with the attempted murder of a pregnant Paso Robles woman said Tuesday she and other family members were looking for answers on what might have led to the shooting.

Steven Smith, 26, pleaded not guilty Tuesday morning to two counts of attempted murder and one count of first-degree burglary. He remained in County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, which was increased from $500,000.

“We are very interested in finding out the truth and what … made this wonderful, loving young man snap or break down,” Smith’s stepmother wrote in an e-mail.

The woman’s family could not be reached for comment.

Police say the woman, who is about 36 weeks along, and the unborn child are expected to survive. She was shot in the chin, hand and forehead with a small-caliber handgun. The shot to the forehead didn’t pierce the skull.

Police did not release her name because she is the alleged victim of domestic violence.

Just before midnight Friday, officers found the 34-year-old woman in her Paso Robles home conscious after being shot several times.

Her 15-year-old daughter, whose name police are also not disclosing, lives with her and made the 911 call. Smith was arrested Saturday.

Smith’s stepmother lives in Paso Robles, but The Tribune agreed not to disclose her name because of her worries that readers might confront her about her comments.

Volunteered as coach

Smith has been suspended from his volunteer duties as a part-time assistant football coach at Paso Robles High School, officials said.

The 2001 Paso Robles High School graduate became a volunteer in its athletics program five years ago after going to college, Principal Randy Nelson said, but was not a school employee and was not paid for his work with the Bearcats.

All volunteers are screened before they can work on campus, Nelson added, which includes a criminal background check through the Paso Robles Police Department.

Smith passed the background check, Nelson said. He has no prior offenses in the county, according to San Luis Obispo County Superior Court records.

He will not continue as a school volunteer “unless he is found innocent in a court of law,” according to a statement from the school district.

Smith was an all-Los Padres League and all-San Luis Obispo County selection as a defensive lineman for Paso Robles in 1999 and 2000. As a senior in 2000, when Paso Robles won its third straight CIF-Southern Section Division X championship, Smith was named the division’s co-defensive player of the year.

“I still hold Steve Smith in high regard despite what happened,” Nelson said. “I’m in shock along with everyone else who knows Steve.”

Cindy Swangler, the mother of 2006 graduate and Bearcats star Luke Swangler, said that many parents interact mostly with the team’s head coach and may not have known Smith directly.

“I wouldn’t know what (positions) he (coached),” she said, though from what she saw of him, he “seemed like a nice, young, respectful guy.

“As a parent, I just think it’s a very sad situation,” Swangler said. “What can you say? There aren’t really any words to say, other than it seems like a really sad situation.”

Paternity uncertain

Police said they aren’t certain of the exact details of Smith’s relationship with the woman, but Smith’s stepmother said it was casual and not long-term.

She also said the woman told Smith that the baby may or may not be his and there will be a DNA test to determine the paternity.

“If Steven is the father then he has no problem with (accepting) the responsibility and taking care of his son,” the stepmother wrote.

Smith faces a burglary charge because he allegedly entered the victim’s home with the intention of hurting her, according to the Paso Robles Police Department, not because he stole something.

He is scheduled back in court Nov. 19 for a bail review and pre-preliminary hearing. In the bail review, he will likely request that his bail be reduced, according to the District Attorney’s Office.