Suspect in Detroit shooting charged with animal murder and torture

In this screenshot, 19-year-old Dontae Ramon Smith attends his arraignment before Chief Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek at the 36th District Court to enter his plea on August 31, 2022. He pleaded not guilty to three counts of first degree murder;  five counts of carrying a firearm while committing a crime;  one count of assault with intent to murder;  and one count of torturing an animal.

The Wayne County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday laid charges against a man accused of shooting four people, killing three, indiscriminately in northwest Detroit on Sunday morning.

Dontae Ramon Smith, 19, is charged with three counts of first degree murder; five counts of carrying a firearm while committing a crime; one count of assault with intent to murder and one count of torturing an animal.

A dog was also shot in the shooting.

Smith pleaded not guilty to all charges at an arraignment hearing on Wednesday afternoon. He was being held in the Wayne County Jail and was denied bail for murder.

Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy said Wednesday the case will be “prosecuted aggressively.”

“It is no exaggeration to say that on Sunday morning August 28th, like a scene from a movie, this alleged defendant brought utter terror to the citizens of Northwest Detroit. Normal daily life was disrupted as ‘He was moving east towards his next victim,’ Worthy said in a statement.

In this screenshot, Chief Magistrate Jeffrey Kleparek presides over an arraignment of 19-year-old Dontae Ramon Smith in the 36th District Court on August 31, 2022. Smith is charged with three counts of first-degree murder;  five counts of carrying a firearm while committing a crime;  one count of assault with intent to murder;  and one count of torturing an animal.

Police believe Smith may be suffering from mental illness. Smith does not appear to have a violent criminal history, according to court records.

Smith is due back in court for a probable cause hearing at 8:30 a.m. on September 14 via Zoom, and an in-person preliminary examination at 1:45 p.m. on September 21.

Smith was apprehended Monday night at his home in the 7300 block of Pembroke Avenue without further incident. His arrest follows a multi-agency manhunt led by Detroit police, with the help of surveillance footage, members of the community and a relative of the suspect who sent a tip to police .

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