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Virginia Tech football player charged with murder
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Virginia Tech football player charged with murder

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Barber: Tech football player charged with murder

Virginia Tech freshman linebacker Isimemen Etute, 18, was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Blacksburg resident Monday.

Etute, from Virginia Beach, is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in Montgomery County General District Court. He is being held without bail.

Blacksburg police have identified the victim as Jerry Smith, 40, and described Smith and Etute as acquaintances. The police also said they have identified and interviewed multiple witnesses.

Etute has been suspended from the team and the university, according to a statement released by Virginia Tech.

The Virginia Tech statement says, in part: “Blacksburg Police continues to lead this ongoing investigation, and the university will assist law enforcement agencies working the case in any way it can.”

According to a release from Blacksburg police, officers responded to 119 N. Main St. for a welfare check Tuesday night and found Smith dead. Authorities believe Smith was killed Monday, according to court records.

The Roanoke Times reported that the downtown Blacksburg address is a set of loft apartments. Landlord Corky Cranwell told the Times that Smith, who did consulting work for restaurants, had lived there since last year.

“He was always very polite,” she said. “He was a very vibrant individual.”

The Times also reported that on Monday, Etute was cited for multiple traffic violations in Radford, where he was pulled over at 4 p.m. while driving a 2019 BMW sport utility vehicle. He was charged with reckless driving and failure to obey a stop sign, according to court records. He is due for a court appearance in Radford on July 22.

Etute is majoring in human development, according to a statement issued by Virginia Tech. The linebacker was a 2021 signee out of Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach who enrolled at midyear and practiced with the team during spring camp.

The Hokies held a team meeting about the situation Wednesday afternoon, per multiple sources.

The Blacksburg City Council was briefed on the case Wednesday morning, before the charges were announced, a source said.

Police asked anyone with information to contact investigators by calling (540) 443-1400, using the department’s anonymous tip line at (540) 961-1819 or emailing ciu@blacksburg.gov.

mbarber@timesdispatch.com

Twitter: @RTD_MikeBarber

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