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Homeless man found beaten to death under Spartanburg bridge

Site of Steven Smith's homicide, Spartanburg

Steven Smith was found killed under a bridge over train tracks in Spartanburg. Authorities say he lived under the bridge. Christian Boschult/Staff

SPARTANBURG — A homeless man found dead under a bridge just outside downtown was beaten to death, authorities said.

Steven Shawn Smith, 31, died from blunt force trauma to the head and neck, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said March 31. His death is being investigated as a homicide.

The Spartanburg Police Department is considering the killing an isolated incident likely committed by someone Smith was familiar with. 

“We think that the victim more than likely knew the person that did the attack,” police Maj. Art Littlejohn told The Post and Courier.

Littlejohn said they haven’t seen anything in Spartanburg like the rash of attacks on homeless people in Greenville over a nine-month period in 2021 to 2022 by a group of men who the Greenville County Sheriff's Office said did so for sport.

When Spartanburg police located Smith's body March 27, he appeared to have been struck several times with a blunt object, according to a police news release.

Police arrived at the nearby Miracle Hill Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter, around 3 a.m. March 27 after receiving a request for a welfare check. The caller told them there was a man under the bridge who wasn't breathing.

Clevenger said his office believes Smith was living under the bridge where he was found. Two bridges — North Forest Street and Wofford Street — span the railroad tracks at this location.

Littlejohn said he did not know of any other recent homicides of homeless people in Spartanburg.

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Follow Spencer Donovan on Twitter @sdonovan5.

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