The 'Surreal' Moment Police Spokesperson Learns Victim Is Brother

Dionay Smith was killed Sunday in Baltimore
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2017 3:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – The spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department is in charge of informing the public about homicides, and while working on Sunday night, he was presented with a homicide victim whose name sounded familiar: Dionay Smith. "My brother, known as Dion, is the only person I’ve ever known with the name Dionay," TJ Smith wrote on Facebook this week. He says he immediately got in touch with investigators and called his brother's cellphone, which went unanswered. He confirmed it was in fact his 24-year-old brother who had been shot and killed in his apartment, a moment he describes as "surreal." "Now, the questions that I’m so often asked at the podium, were the same questions I was asking; Why? Who?" he wrote on Facebook.

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Smith then met his father and sister at his dad's house: "I arrived and shared the terrible news. A coward with a gun, entered my brother's apartment and shot and killed him." Smith says his brother was "a good kid" who "wasn't 'about that life,'" working two jobs, volunteering at a safe space for kids, and spending time with his own three children. He tells the Baltimore Sun he believes his brother was "targeted" and knew his killer. Police announced Thursday they had arrested a 21-year-old who is suspected of the murder, but said only that a dispute had allegedly preceded the killing, the AP reports. Baltimore is one of the most violent cities in the US in per capita homicides, the Washington Post reports. Dionay Smith was the 173rd victim this year, and in the two days following his death, three more were killed. (Read more Baltimore stories.)

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