North Texas U.S. Marshals arrested a 21-year-old man in Grand Prairie Sunday morning in connection to a triple homicide Saturday in east Oak Cliff.
Police said Justin Pharez Smith admitted to police to participating in the shooting.
“We were certainly concerned that Smith’s actions were an imminent danger to this community and he would probably take other lives if we did not get him into custody,” said Major Jeff Cotner, with the Dallas Police Department.
Three people were shot and killed Saturday morning inside a home in the 5100 block of Wynell Street. They have been identified as Demarcus Walton Black, Tyteanna Lyahanee Brown and Kimberly Montgomery. A fourth person was also shot, but she survived.
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“He [Smith] kicked the female witness to determine if she was still alive,” said Cotner. “She played possum and fortunately survived the incident.”
“It was bad,” said David Galvan, who lives next door to the shooting. “All her [the fourth victim] face was bloody. All this was bloody and her legs. Everything was bloody.”
Police said Smith got into a confrontation with two other witnesses outside the home. He allegedly hit one of them intentionally with a car as he was driving away from the murder scene.
Police found evidence that drugs were being sold from the home and they believe the shooting might be drug related.
Witnesses were able to identify Smith and police found a gun and clothes that he hid at his mother’s home in Arlington. They said after he left his mother’s home, he went to get a haircut and then hid at a friend's house in Grand Prairie where he was arrested Sunday morning.
Police said Smith came to North Texas often, but is a resident in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Smith is a current or recent student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and is also associated with the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, according the organization’s website.
In video posted on YouTube in May, Smith talks with a faculty member of UAPF about black men going to prison.
“What are some of the reasons you think we have some many young African-American males going to prison?” Rev. Dr. Anthony Hobbs Sr. asked in the video.
Smith responded, “I would say a lack of immediate and direct guide.”
Dallas police commented on Smith’s educational background in a news conference Sunday afternoon.
"It's a person that you would not stereo typically place in street narcotic sales,” said Cotner. “But none of that takes away his culpability.”
Smith is being held in the Dallas County Jail on a $1 million bond for capital murder. It is not immediately clear if Smith has an attorney.