Murder suspect stayed close, police say

Published 1:12 pm Saturday, January 12, 2013

FRANKLIN—Thursday’s arrest of murder suspect Sol “Dukey” Damascus Burke of Suffolk ended a two-month search that took police throughout Hampton Roads and Eastern North Carolina.

It’s believed Burke, who is accused of shooting Eric “E.T.” Smith when Smith answered the door at his mother’s Pearl Street home on Nov. 8, never left the region, said Franklin Police Lt. Tim Whitt

“We have no reason to believe he strayed far from the area,” Whitt said. “The detective working the case would get information from various sources about possible sightings. We heard he was in Murfreesboro, we heard he was in Suffolk and Southampton Meadows. These leads were followed up.”

Franklin police worked with the U.S. Marshals Service, Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, who found Burke at the Deep Creek Crossing Apartments off Gilmerton Road in Chesapeake. The 25-year-old was arrested without incident.

Whitt would only say that “the investigation” led officials to Chesapeake, where he understands Burke was at the apartment of his girlfriend.

Burke is the primary suspect in Smith’s murder and believed to have fired the shot that killed him, Whitt said.

Police recovered 9MM and .380 pistols believed to have been used in the murder.

“We have every reason to believe Burke used that gun (the 9MM) based on the investigation,” Whitt said.

Burke also was shot that night and was treated at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News.

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

It’s been rumored that Burke allegedly killed Smith after Smith beat him up in September during an attempted robbery in Southampton County.

Burke was charged with first-degree murder, unlawfully shooting in the commission of a felony, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, possessing a gun by a convicted felon, shooting with intent to maim or kill, eight counts of shooting into an occupied home and shooting a gun in public resulting in injury.

Burke was taken to Western Tidewater Regional Jail in Suffolk without bond.

“Hopefully this will bring some closure to the family now that the parties involved have been arrested,” Whitt said.