Police investigating death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 2, 2005

Britt well known in community for his culinary expertise

By Allison T. Williams

Cora A. Overton had a gut feeling something was wrong Thursday night.

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Worried after talking with Terrance K. Britt, the Suffolk funeral home owner vowed to stop by the Pinner Street restaurant where her friend worked to check on him Friday.

Sadly, Overton never had that chance.

Around 10:30 a.m. Friday, police found Britt, 48, of the 100 block of Liberty Street, dead in his apartment overtop the now-closed Horseshoe Caf\u00E9, at the corner of Liberty and East Washington streets.

Although police are not calling Britt’s death a homicide, it is being investigated as &uot;suspicious,&uot; said Suffolk Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Debbie George.

All four tires on his car were slashed, police said. The vehicle was impounded by police.

If he was murdered, Britt’s death will be the city’s first homicide this year.

Overton said Britt acted a little odd when she talked to him on the telephone around 11:30 p.m. Thursday

&uot;I knew something was wrong,&uot; said Overton. &uot;He was not his usual jolly self…and he has never spoken to me like he did last night.

&uot;He just answered questions…and seemed to have nothing else to say,&uot; she said. &uot;That was quite unusual. I was going to see him today because I didn’t like the way he sounded.&uot;

It just didn’t sound like &uot;my Terrance&uot;-a humble, peace-loving man who savored life, she said. The two, who became friends in the late 1990s, often went shopping or visiting churches together.

&uot;When he saw a sale in the paper, he’d call me and tell me to get ready to go shopping tomorrow,&uot; Overton said. &uot;He was just a beautiful person.&uot;

Even if people didn’t directly know Britt, many-particularly in the downtown community-knew his reputation as a cook. Over the years, Britt cooked in several restaurants, even operating his own, Terrance’s Soul Food Caf\u00E9, for a time on East Washington Street.

&uot;He was the best cook…he was the yock king,&uot; said Saranette Chapman. &uot;Anything he made to eat was good.

&uot;Everyone knew and loved him. His death is a big loss for this community.&uot;

As word of Britt’s death spread around the neighborhood, people clustered outside his apartment Friday wondered aloud why someone would hurt him. Although authorities were keeping mum, several friends and neighbors said they had heard Britt was stabbed to death.

&uot;We have to see if we can get some pieces put together and find whoever did this,&uot; said Overton. &uot;Everybody in the community knew my Terrance, as my daughter calls him, and no one would want to hurt him.&uot;

Adria Mason echoed similar sentiments outside Britt’s apartment on Friday, less than an hour after his body was found.

&uot;Terrance was loved by everyone,&uot; she said, adding that he frequently catered her church’s banquets. &uot;I don’t know how anyone could do something like this. He was just such a good person.&uot;

Watching a police officer wrap yellow crime tape around the apartment’s parking area, Janice Barker remembered how friendly Britt was.

&uot;He always spoke to everybody,&uot; she said. &uot;It didn’t matter who you were or where you were, he always made a point of smiling and speaking to you.

&uot;I can’t imagine why someone would want to do something like this.&uot;

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information involving Britt’s death can call Detective Gary Myrick at 923-2193 or the Suffolk Crime Line at 1-888-Lock U Up.