BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s murder rate on a record pace, as 180 people have been killed so far this year. One of the most recent victims is the brother of the City Police Department’s spokesman.
Now, police have announced an arrest in that case.
The person who police arrested in T.J. Smith’s brother’s killing is a young, repeat, violent offender. On Thursday there was tough talk from the governor, who says that judges are handing out sentences that are simply too light, letting violent criminals just walk on city streets.
Police arrested 21-year-old Terrell Gibson, who was identified from surveillance video and charged with the murder of Dion Smith, whose killing drew national attention because he’s the brother of T.J. Smith who as chief spokesman, is the face of Baltimore Police.
“We know we’ve got the right guy and thankfully he’s off the streets and he won’t live to hopefully harm anybody else like he harmed Dion and the Smith family,” says Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis.
Smith’s is just one life lost, as killings are up more than 20 percent in the first half of the year — the highest per-capita the city has ever seen.
“We’re arresting a lot of violent people who commit violent crimes with guns who are not going to jail. And so I believe 60 percent of those cases, the people are back on the streets. It’s outrageous. It’s disgraceful,” says Governor Larry Hogan.
The violence in Baltimore is so out of control the Governor and Mayor will meet to figure out what can be done.
Governor Hogan says he won’t send in the National Guard, but he criticized the judicial system as a revolving door that all too often lets violent, repeat offenders off with a slap on the wrist.
“If somebody commits a felony in Baltimore city with a gun, shoots somebody, they should be in jail. And 60 percent of them shouldn’t be back out the next day to do it again,” says Governor Hogan.
Dionay Smith’s accused killer had previously been charged with attempted murder. Court records show Terrell Gibson served just about a year behind bars for a violent assault on an MTA bus. He’d only been back on the streets for seven months before police say he committed this murder.
“It’s not the police’s fault, it’s not the state’s fault for not putting enough money in there. It’s the prosecutors and judges who are not giving out tough enough sentences,” says Governor Hogan.
The Governor had praise for the Mayor and Police Commissioner, but he said the plan isn’t working. He doesn’t believe throwing money at it is the answer.
The commissioner would not reveal details about the motive in the killing of Smith’s brother, just saying it stemmed from a dispute.