Honor roll student home for the summer is latest victim of violent crime in St. Louis

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A mother’s pain is turning into a plea after her son was shot and killed after being robbed while taking a nap in his car.

Demario Smith was a University City High School honor roll student, he was murdered weeks before his sophomore year at Morehouse College.

“They took his keys and his cellphone,” says his mother, Angelica Smith. “Even if he did confront you, you could have just went on.”

The 19-year-old came back home to St. Louis to work at a nearby QuikTrip during summer break.

Angelica Smith says her son was robbed in broad daylight on Pestalozzi Street while sleeping in his car after working an overnight shift. Angelica Smith says Demario had to use a stranger’s phone to call her.

“He had called me and his dad at 4:48 and the report says 5:46 was his time of death. It just happened so quick, like I don’t understand,” Angelica Smith says. “I didn’t imagine I would be burying my child or planning a funeral for my child.”

The honor roll student became another victim of violence happening up and down the I-70 corridor.

“You may get shot. You may get involved in an exchange of gunfire because someone was breaking into your car,” says Lt. Tom Wilkison with the St. Charles Police Department.

“That was his first fight. He had never been in a fight in school. Never at home. Your first battle in life lost,” says Angelica Smith.

St Charles police are trying to find a solution to combat emboldened acts of violence on their own. The department has been forced to create a special task force to reduce crime. The department is teaming up with every department in St. Charles County to target crime and capture criminals.

“We will have officers from all of those jurisdictions working at the same time in collaboration with each other to go out there and target these types of crimes,’ says Lt. Wilkison.

Wilkison says the level of danger is the worst he’s seen in his 27-year career.

As police work to find Demario Smith’s killer, his mother continues to wait for justice to be served.

“That could be your son. That could be your brother, your uncle. That could be someone you knew within the neighborhood. Just imagine what you would want done if that was you,” she said.

No one has been arrested for the murder of Demario Smith.

A reward is being offered for a tip that can lead police catching the person responsible. Callers can remain anonymous. Anyone with information is being asked to call 314-444-5371 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).