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Authorities make arrest in 2004 cold case

Posted at 3:02 PM, Nov 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 20:47:54-05

Authorities arrested a suspect accused of murdering two people in 2004.

According to Sgt. Pete Dugan with TPD, 38-year-old Damion Smith was located and apprehended in Atlanta on November 16.

Police say on June 7, 2004, 35-year-old Alex Grijalva was found murdered inside an apartment in the 8000 block of East Lakeside Drive. Detectives investigated and found that the cause of death was from blunt force trauma. Smith, who was 23 at the time, was involved in the murder. He was not located at the time, and a First Degree Murder Warrant for his arrest was obtained.

On December 31, 2004, 24-year-old Richard Vega was stabbed to death during an altercation in an apartment located in the 6400 block of East Golf Links Road. Smith was also identified as the person responsible for the murder. Police were unable to locate him and a second warrant was obtained for First Degree Murder.

Detectives searched for Smith but leads in the investigation faded over the years.

On October, 16, 2017. the U.S. Marshals Arizona began assisting Tucson Police with the investigation.

Smith was believed to be living under an alias name of his brother Steven Smith, who has been incarcerated in a federal prison since 1993.

Smith was stopped for speeding in April and avoided being caught by giving the alias name.

His true identity was confirmed by using body camera footage.

The families of Damion Smith’s victims have waited for over thirteen years for this day. The Tucson Police Department and the U.S. Marshals Service never forgot the families and the horrendous crimes with which Damion Smith is charged, said U.S. Marshal David Gonzales.

Smith is currently in custody in Atlanta and is awaiting extradition back to Pima County.