Third suspect in murder of Kannapolis teen caught in Maryland

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 26, 2012

KANNAPOLIS — A suspect on the run since the May 21 murder of a Kannapolis teenager was arrested Tuesday morning as he stepped off a bus in Maryland.
Darius Jamal Smotherson, 19, of Glendale Avenue, is the third person charged in the killing of Daniel Cooper. Smotherson may have been the person who shot Cooper, Kannapolis Police Lt. Terry Spry said.
A senior at A.L. Brown High School, Cooper was shot in an apparent robbery attempt just days before his 18th birthday and weeks before he was to graduate.
The shooting happened on Snow Street, which runs off Glendale Avenue in north Kannapolis. Cooper was sitting in the passenger seat of a Honda and was shot in the neck.
Kannapolis Police investigators quickly obtained a warrant for Smotherson’s arrest on a murder charge and said two other people were believed to be involved in the crime.
On May 28, police charged Damarick Lamar Harper, 17, of Kirk Street in China Grove, with felony robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was charged with murder a day later.
On June 14, police arrested 35-year-old Reginald Javae Clark of Glendale Avenue and also charged him with murder and felony armed robbery.
According to a press release from the Maryland State Police, Kannapolis investigators notified that agency that Smotherson was believed to be on a bus from Georgia headed to the Baltimore area.
Law enforcement agents were waiting for the bus when it pulled into a welcome center along northbound Interstate 95 in Laurel, Md. around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, the press release said. As Smotherson got off the bus with other passengers, he was taken into custody without incident.
A Kannapolis Police Department press release said a call to Crime Stoppers helped investigators track Smotherson.
A number of agencies aided in the hunt and capture of Smotherson, the press releases said, including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and others.
Smotherson was being held Tuesday in Maryland. Kannapolis investigators were traveling there to interview him and begin extradition proceedings.
Investigators ask anyone with more information about this crime to call the Kannapolis Police Department at 704-920-4000 or Crime Stoppers at 704-932-7463.