Police Arrest Alleged Killer of Department Spokesman’s Younger Brother

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Photo via Facebook/Baltimore Police Department

Authorities have charged a 21-year-old Baltimore man with murder in the Sunday night killing of Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith’s little brother.

The alleged shooter is 21-year-old Terrell Gibson. Police arrested him this morning at his home in Sandtown-Winchester. He’s charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Dionay Smith.

At a press conference today, Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said warrant apprehension officers showed up at Gibson’s door this morning and arrested him largely without incident, save for someone in the house trying to hide his location from police. They haven’t yet recovered the gun that Gibson allegedly used, Davis said.

Dionay Smith was fatally shot on July 2 in his apartment on Argyle Avenue in the Upton neighborhood. Two days later, T.J. Smith, the department’s chief of media relations, revealed in a tearjerker of a Facebook post that the victim was his younger brother.

“This might sound like a cliche, but it is true – my brother was a good kid. He wasn’t ‘about that life,’” Smith wrote.

At an emotional press conference yesterday, Smith said it felt strange on his end to receive the terrible news about his brother being a murder victim. “I don’t mind delivering the news, but I hate being the news,” he told reporters.

He also discussed his recent communications with Dionay Smith leading up to the shooting – Father’s Day texts to his brother, a dad to twin children, and Dionay sending a picture of a young T.J. Smith as a rookie police officer with the caption “LOL.”

He also said he was aware of how trusting his younger sibling was of others.

“My brother had a very kind heart,” Smith said. “It appears that someone he knows that he probably was kind to took advantage of him.”

The police spokesman issued a brief statement today on Facebook following Gibson’s arrest:

On behalf of the Smith family, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Baltimore Police Department for identifying and arresting the suspect responsible for our loved one’s death.

We also offer our thanks to the community for the outpouring of assistance and condolences.

We now look forward to the justice system holding this individual accountable for his actions, so that he does not have the opportunity to harm anyone else’s family.

At this morning’s presser, Commissioner Davis walked through Gibson’s previous arrests: a 2015 stabbing on an MTA bus that led to attempted murder and assault charges; drug distribution and possession charges (coupled with a burglary charge, per court records) from 2015. He had been released from probation in December of last year, Davis said.

“We are happy to announce his arrest and certainly continue to extend our condolences to T.J. and his family,” the commissioner added.

Detectives were able to identify Terrell Gibson using publicly shared surveillance footage. After they IDed him, they obtained a warrant for his arrest. He was speaking with homicide detectives this morning, police said.

Smith said on Wednesday that he wasn’t angry about the loss of his brother. Rather, he’s upset, and tired of watching the cycle of condolences for every one of Baltimore’s homicide victims — 180 of them through this afternoon.

“Anger is what fuels too much of the violence in this city,” he said. “Enough with the hashtags and the R.I.P.’s and the balloons and the t-shirts. Until we stop, it is up to all of us – especially the guys on the street – to say enough is enough.”

Dionay Smith, 24. Photo via T.J. Smith Media/Facebook.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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