Teen, another charged in connection with Franklin murder

Published 11:33 am Friday, November 16, 2012

FRANKLIN—A 17-year-old from Emporia has been arrested for the Nov. 8 murder of Eric “E.T.” Smith, Franklin police said.

A Suffolk man remains a suspect for the Pearl Street murder of the 30-year-old Franklin man, said Lt. Tim Whitt. As of Friday morning, Sol “Dukey” Damacus Burke, 25, remained on the run.

“We believe he is very much involved and he still faces first-degree murder charges,” Whitt said.

Police have not received any tips on Burke’s possible whereabouts.

Police also charged Rowan D. Bruff, 29, of 31000 lock of Carter Street, Franklin, for allegedly driving the vehicle used that night


and having a gun, Whitt said.

“It (the vehicle) was used in the commission of the crime, but I don’t want to go into specific details,” he said.

Smith at about 8:30 heard a knock at the door while visiting his mother and was shot when he opened the door, police reported. The father of four went to his cousin’s upstairs apartment for help and was taken to Southampton Memorial Hospital. Smith was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The rumored motive was the shooting was in revenge for Burke being beat up. The Southampton County Sheriff’s Office investigated an assault against Burke on Sept. 29 at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park on Route 258. He allegedly refused to cooperate with investigators.

Burke was taken to Southampton Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for lacerations above and below the eye, but was not hospitalized, the sheriff’s office reported. Smith was not considered a suspect for Burke’s assault.

One day after Smith was killed, police issued a warrant for the Burke’s arrest for premeditated murder. He is described as a 6-foot-4, 230-pound black man and has a tattoo of “Dukey” on his right forearm and bicep.

During the investigation, police learned Bruff and the teen, who was not identified because he is a juvenile, could be possible suspects.

“Both came down to the department for questioning and during questioning the investigation led to their arrests,” Whitt said. “We know the (17-year-old) was a shooter, but I really can’t get into the specifics.”

It’s believed Burke, Bruff and the teen were traveling together that night, Whitt said.

The Southampton County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office could ask to try the teen as an adult, Whitt said. Then his name would be released.

The teen was charged with use of a firearm during the commission of felony and three counts of shooting a gun into an occupied dwelling. He was taken to the Juvenile Detention Center in Chesapeake.

Bruff was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon and accessory to murder and taken to Western Tidewater Regional Jail.