Archived Story

Accused killer still at large

Published 10:01pm Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Gwen Albers

The Tidewater News

Some people are saying that 30-year-old Eric “E.T.” Smith was shot and killed in Franklin on Thursday in an act of revenge over a fight that allegedly took place weeks ago.

But Gregory “Peanut” Smith, the victim’s cousin and best friend, doesn’t buy that story.

“That’s not true,” said Smith, who was among the last to see the victim alive. “They didn’t know each other.”

Smith, 30, of Franklin, was referring to suspect Sol “Dukey” Damacus Burke, 25, of Suffolk, who as of Tuesday remained on the run, said Franklin Police Lt. Tim Whitt.

Burke and E.T. Smith were said to have been in a fight more than three weeks ago, but Gregory Smith was not prepared this week to connect the shooting with that alleged fight.

“People just want to make something up,” Smith said about the rumor. “It’s kind of hard to understand why people do what they do.”

Police have heard similar rumors.

“That has not been substantiated at this point,” Whitt said. “We have heard it, but have yet to receive any documentation from the county.”

The alleged fight occurred in Southampton County three weeks to three months ago, Whitt said.

Gregory Smith dropped off E.T. Smith at his mother’s home in Franklin on Thursday.

“It feels unreal,” he said. “He said he wanted to get some dinner and he was supposed to call me back, but he never did.”

Three hours later, E.T. Smith answered the door of his mother’s Pearl Street home and was shot once near his hip. He was taken to Southampton Memorial Hospital and then flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police named Burke a suspect after talking to the victim’s family and others.

“We were able to establish the name ‘Dukey,’ and the investigation led us to Sol Burke,” Whitt said.

Police have received no tips on Burke’s possible whereabouts since issuing a warrant for his arrest less than 24 hours after the murder.

“We have reason to believe he is on the run, because he made no attempt to turn himself in or talk to us,” Whitt said. “With the amount of media coverage on news stations and newspapers, (he should know he is wanted).”

Burke may be in a 2004 red Dodge Durango with Virginia tags XDL-9247, police said.

“I know he was seen in that vehicle in the city the night of the murder,” Whitt said.

Burke is described as a 6-foot-4-inch, 230-pound black man. He has a tattoo of “Dukey” on his right forearm and bicep.

A funeral will be held for E.T. Smith at 2 p.m. Thursday, at First Baptist Church on Hall Street in Franklin.

Anyone with information should call the Franklin Police at 562-8575, Det. Cpl. J. Butts at 562-2849 or Franklin Crime Solvers at 562-8599. Information that leads to an arrest can earn the caller a cash reward while remaining anonymous.

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