Baltimore’s spiraling scourge of gun violence this week claimed the life of the city police department chief spokesman’s brother.
In a statement posted to Facebook yesterday, Smith shared the heartbreaking news that his younger brother, 24-year-old Dionay Smith, was shot and killed on July 2 in Upton.
“On Sunday evening, one of the names that came to me was way too familiar,” T.J. Smith wrote. “My brother, known as Dion, is the only person I’ve ever known with the name Dionay. Like many families 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 wound. I also did what is instinctual; I called his cell phone several times. Of course, there was no answer. However, I remained in denial.”
Police said on Sunday that officers arrived at Dionay Smith’s residence to find him suffering from a gunshot wound and not breathing. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Smith summed it up more poignantly: “A coward with a gun, entered my brother’s apartment and shot and killed him.”
The police spokesman, who arrived at BPD in August 2015 by way of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, described his younger brother as “a good kid” who worked two jobs and helped out at the Penn North Kids Safe Zone. “This might sound like a cliche, but it is true – my brother was a good kid. He wasn’t ‘about that life,’” Smith wrote.
The department said in a statement (via WBAL-TV) that it “extends its condolences and prayers to Chief T.J. Smith following the loss of his beloved brother, Dionay. We join the rest of our city as we afford T.J. and his family privacy during this difficult time.”
Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday morning during a press conferences that “our hearts are with him and his family.”
Homicide detectives are investigating. Police on Monday released a surveillance video from the scene to try to identify a man who may be connected to Dionay Smith’s murder. See below:
Anyone who recognizes the pictured man in the t-shirt can call detectives at 410-396-2100 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Dionay Smith was Baltimore’s 173rd homicide of 2017, “but to me and my family, he’s Dion, a brother, a son, a father, a friend, a nephew, and a kind soul,” T.J. Smith wrote.
His whole statement, accompanied by a photo of his smiling younger brother, can be read here.
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