Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith’s brother was one of the most recent victims of city’s surging homicides.
Approximately 8 p.m. Sunday, Police responded to a shooting in the 1400 block of Argyle Avenue in Upton. When officer arrived at the scene, they discovered 24-year-old Dionay Smith suffering from a fatal gunshot wound. The killing pushed Baltimore’s homicide rate to 173 this year.
T.J. Smith went public about his brother’s death, expressing his grief in a Facebook post.
“I’m a public person and this brings everything that I’ve been talking about full circle,” T.J. Smith said.
“My brother was a good kid. I know that’s a cliché, but it’s true.” He said. “My only hope is that every time I speak out it mobilizes more people in our city to fight violence. No one else’s family should ever have to get this phone call.”
Following Dionay’s death, three more homicides were recorded in the city within a 48-hour period. Charlie Stevenson, 54; Ronnie Banks, 56; and Malcolm Parker, 47, pushed the homicide rate to 176 for 2017.
Smith is one of the first officials to be notified of a homicide in Baltimore.
“One of the names I heard was way too familiar,” he said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun.
“My brother is the only person I’ve every know with the name Dionay. My stomach sank to the floor. Like many people who have been in that position, I was in denial. I immediately contacted investigators to learn more about the Dionay who was found deceased from a gunshot would. I also called his cellphone several times. Of course, there was no answer.”
A surveillance video was released to the public, which showed two men – one appeared to be carrying a gun – enter the building where Dionay Smith resided. No arrests have been made in connection with the killing, police said.
T.J. Smith said he believed Dionay knew his assailant.
“He was targeted,” Smith said. “A coward with a gun entered my brother’s apartment and shot and killed him.”
The Baltimore Police Department extended its sympathy and condolences to Chief T.J. Smith in a brief statement.
Dionay Smith, father of three, volunteered at the Kids Safe Zone and worked two jobs to provide for his family, T.J. Smith said.
“He was really good-hearted,” T.J. Smith said. “He had defied a number of odds and he was doing every single thing he could to do the right thing.”
“I still looked at him as a kid,” T.J. Smith said. “But I was proud of him and I know that he was proud of me.”