Local News

Sources: NCCU Slaying Probe Leads Police to Greensboro

Posted January 8, 2007 10:53 a.m. EST
Updated January 9, 2007 10:47 a.m. EST

— Detectives investigating the shooting death of a North Carolina Central University student are shifting their focus to the Triad.

Sources told WRAL Monday evening that search warrants connected with the shooting death of Denita Monique Smith were served Monday in Greensboro, but a Durham Police Department spokesperson would not confirm that.

Authorities said Smith, 25, a graduate student from Charlotte, was shot inside a stairwell of the Campus Crossing Apartments Thursday morning and then fell down several steps to the sidewalk.

A maintenance worker at the apartment complex found her body.

Durham police did say, however, that their investigators have spent the last four days interviewing more than a dozen people, including Smith's family members, friends and neighbors. They are steadily moving forward with the case, authorities said.

"It's still being actively investigated, and every day, we get a little bit closer," said Cpl. David Addison with the Durham Police Department. "Are we close to making an arrest? We don't know at this point. We're still following up on leads."

Police still have not named any suspects in the case, but did spend several hours on Friday interviewing a person of interest in the case. Police said witnesses saw a woman driving away from the apartment complex in a burgundy Ford Explorer less than two hours before Smith's body was found.

They would not release the woman's name or say what the relationship between her and Smith is.

Anyone with information about the case should contact the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440 or Durham CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.

At N.C. Central, students returning from winter break were trying to understand what happened.

"I just broke down and cried and said, 'Not my Denita, not my Denita,'" said Rony Camille, editor of N.C. Central's student newspaper, The Campus Echo, for which Smith was a longtime staff member

A tribute to her life was published in Monday's online edition Monday and will be published in the print edition later this week.

"I really was shocked, because this is family," Camille said.

University officials said Smith received a bachelor's degree in English from N.C. Central and had planned to wrap up her thesis this semester. She was also engaged to a Greensboro police officer.

Her funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday at University Park Baptist Church in Charlotte.  A memorial service for Smith is scheduled Tuesday, Jan. 16 at B.N. Duke Auditorium at N.C. Central.