BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith, whose job it is to inform the public about violent deaths that occur daily within city limits, saw a familiar name come across his desk Sunday.
His brother’s name: Dionay Smith.
In an emotional post on his Facebook page Tuesday night, Smith wrote about what it was like to be, simultaneously, the chief of communications for the police and a homicide victim’s next of kin.
“For the last couple of years, I’ve notified the public of many tragedies, mostly death, specifically homicide, related. I’ve been on crime scenes and heard the wails of family members when they discover it’s their loved one who is deceased…On Sunday evening, one of the names that came to me was way too familiar. Dionay Smith. 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.”
Despite his disbelief, he says contacted his family — his father and sister — immediately.
“Now, the questions that I’m so often asked at the podium, were the same questions I was asking; Why? Who?”
For now, all he knows is “A coward with a gun, entered my brother’s apartment and shot and killed him.”
Dionay Smith, 24, was fatally shot around 8 p.m. Sunday, found in a home on the 1400 block of Argyle Avenue. Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect and have released surveillance video, which you can watch below.
Smith was Baltimore’s 173rd homicide victim this year and he leaves behind three young children, according to The Baltimore Sun.
“Now this might sound like a cliche, but it is true- my brother was a good kid,” Smith went on to write on Facebook.
“He wasn’t ‘about that life.’ He worked two jobs, helped out Ericka Alston-Buck at the Kids Safe Zone in the past and he spent time with his kids. I used to tell him, ‘the busier you are, the less time and desire you’ll have to be on the streets.’ Of course I’m upset, angry, mad, and all those things. But I can only channel the negative into positive and pray for the soul of the person responsible for this. He ruined his life for something small and petty, no doubt. So many young people lack the foresight to understand the gravity of their poor decision making.”
T.J. Smith held a special press conference to speak about the death of his brother on Wednesday. You can watch it above.