Murder suspect shot

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

FRANKLIN—The night Eric “E.T.” Smith was murdered, suspect Sol “Dukey” Damacus Burke was also shot, Franklin police said.

Taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Burke was treated for the wound to his leg, his mother, Kim Burke, told The Tidewater News on Monday.

As of Tuesday, Burke remained on the run for first-degree murder for allegedly shooting Smith when Smith answered the door to his mother’s Pearl Street home on Nov. 8. The 30-year-old died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital of a single gunshot wound.

Franklin police last week charged a 17-year-old boy from Emporia with first-degree murder. They also charged Rowan D. Bruff, 29, of Franklin for allegedly driving the vehicle used that night and possessing a gun by a convicted felon.

Police Lt. Tim Whitt acknowledged that Burke, 25, of Suffolk was shot that night, but could not identify the suspect. Burke’s mother believes it was Smith.

“I’m unable to answer that for you right now,” Whitt said. “The investigation is still in progress.”

The murder has forced Kim Burke from her home at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park.

“We’ve had threats that they were going to blow my trailer off the map and were going to shoot my home up,” she said.

The 47-year-old assumes the threats came from the Smith family.

She also claims that E.T. Smith about a month earlier beat up her son during an attempted robbery in Southampton County’s Kingsdale area. Three of Smith’s cousins apparently held him down during the beating, which resulted in Sol Burke’s eye popping out of its socket.

The Sheriff’s Office investigated a Sept. 29 assault on Burke, but said he refused to cooperate. Investigators also indicated Smith was not involved in “any way, shape or fashion.”

Sol Burke was treated and released at Southampton Memorial Hospital, officials said.

“When he came home, his eye started to bleed and I took him to Sentara Obici,” Kim Burke said.

Sol Burke was treated at the Suffolk hospital, and when he got home, he blew his nose and his eyeball popped out. He was taken to Norfolk General, where he was kept overnight.

Released from prison in August after serving three years for drug charges, Sol Burke “tried to submit himself to the Lord,” his mother said.

He planned to attend Tidewater Community College in the spring and was attempting to turn his life around.

Kim Burke, who has not heard from her son since two days after the murder and is unaware of his whereabouts, doesn’t believe Smith’s murder was premeditated.

“It’s not like my son sat and planned this murder,” Kim Burke said. “I mean this is something my son (wouldn’t do).”

Her heart goes out to Laverne Smith, the mother of E.T. Smith.

“I’m not happy this boy is dead,” Kim Burke said. “I’m a Christian. It hurt me so bad to see my son hurt like that and for her son to be killed like that in her home . . . We are very sorry for her loss.”

“He may be dead, but I feel like I lost my son as well,” she said.