Three suspects have been arrested after a local Facebook celebrity was shot last week in the middle of a livestream.
Terrill Smith, 46 was broadcasting live on his Facebook for his self-titled “Rells Corner” when the gunfire erupted around 11 a.m. on June 28.
“While Terrill streamed live from his Facebook page, the shooting was overheard/witnessed by many,” the Washtenaw Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “Prior to being removed, the video had been shared numerous times and countless people were exposed to the reality of gun violence here in our community.”
Deputies arrived at Smith’s home in Ypsilanti Township after multiple callers reported the incident and they found Smith with “multiple” gunshot wounds. He later succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
Investigators arrested three individuals for the fatal shooting on Friday. Martita Bonner, 41, and Jermia Castion, 25, are both facing charges of conspiracy to commit homicide/open murder. A 24-year-old male was arrested in Georgia and is being transported back to Washtenaw County. His charges are still pending, authorities said.
The victim’s mother, Genniece Smith, said she believes her son was killed because the suspects were upset about comments Terrill made on the livestream.
“Terrill was a comedian,” she said. “He disrespected people and they got mad. Words can’t kill you … a gun can.”
She said her son had been making jokes about a video of someone getting beat up.
“My son put up a video of her son getting knocked out,” she said. “A lot of people didn’t like Terrill—so what! People cannot kill people for talking.”
According to Genniece, the family had gotten on Facebook Live and “said they were going to slap me and kill him” before her son was gunned down while broadcasting outside the family’s home.
In the viral video, Smith had been talking about taking pride in his hometown of Ypsilanti in some of his final comments.
“What makes y’all think because y’all moved that y’all better than Ypsi?” he asked. “Y’all aren’t better than Ypsi. Y’all a product of Ypsi.”
He seemed to be referencing a heated exchange he was having with commenters, saying “Now y’all on Facebook, ‘I’m riding around with 60 shots,’” before someone drove up to the home and Smith told his viewers, “We’ve got action.”
While the shooting wasn’t visible on the Livestream, viewers could hear the more than 30 shots that were fired at Smith.
The investigation into the fatal shooting is ongoing.
Bonner and Castion are currently being held in the Washtenaw County Jail. The bond for both women has been set at $1 million.