Family holds vigil for teen stabbing victim on same night as suspect's arrest
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The 17-year-old wanted for stabbing to death another teen in downtown Charleston last week has been captured, Mayor Joe Riley announced Monday night at a vigil for the dead teen.
According to Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, U.S. Marshals arrested Terrell Smith around 4:45 p.m. Monday in Alabama. Officials said he would be extradited back to Charleston.
According to police, Smith is wanted on charges of murder, attempted murder, first-degree burglary and possession of a deadly weapon.
Police say Smith stabbed 18-year-old Brandon Bennett at his Congress Street home last Wednesday. Detectives say the two teens knew each other.
Family and friends gathers for a memorial vigil in the teen's name Monday night.
"I'm holding on with the spirit of Brandon because I know this is how he'd want me to be," Brandon Bennett's mother Latrease Bennett told the crowd of more than 100 people.
Brandon Bennett's parents joined friends, community leaders and Mayor Riley at Waterfront Park to remember the 18-year-old. They wore his favorite colors, white and blue.
But people couldn't understand why this happened to a teen they said was not involved in gangs, and was friends with the suspect.
"He just was a funny person. He loved to make people laugh," friend Priya Loften said.
"He was someone that everyone cared for. That's why so many people are supporting him now," friend Jaze'myn Washington said.
Police said Smith broke in to Bennett's home Wednesday morning while he was sleeping and stabbed him to death.
"I still can't believe it," said Carli Drayton, who organized the vigil with Bennett's parents.
His father said the 18-year-old Bennett kept the intruder distracted, in turn saving his father's life instead of his own.
"I couldn't even protect my son in our house in his bed while he slept. I don't know if I can forgive myself for that. If you have family out there, hold them close and tell them you love them because you never know when it'll be the last time," Darryl Bennett said.
Darryl Bennett said his son's flame still burned, to remind them this did not have to happen. He said it was a cause he would lead.
"I'll be at the forefront of stopping this violence, educating our young men and teaching them how to love," Darryl Bennett said.
"I just want people to get ahold of what they're doing. Think about it before you do it because as you see a lot of people here now hurting, and for what?" Drayton said.
Brandon Bennett's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Nichols Chapel in downtown Charleston.