(CNN) T.J. Smith, Baltimore’s chief police spokesman, has been getting the names of city homicide victims by text message with increasing regularity of late.
But he never expected to see the familiar name that popped up Sunday night.
Smith’s 24-year-old brother, Dionay, was fatally shot in his apartment that night. He was Baltimore’s 173rd homicide victim this year.
“When I saw his name come across, I just knew,” T.J. Smith, in tears, told reporters on Wednesday.
“Like any family member, you’re in denial. I remember when I called, I was hoping he’d answer, because … I was going to wherever he was to hug him. And I didn’t get a chance to do that.”
The homicide leaves Baltimore as one of the most murderous cities per capita in the nation.
And Smith, who regularly addresses the public about the scourge of violence, this time was left to break the terrible news to his own family.