A Chicago man faces a murder charge in the fatal shooting of a dance coach whose studio had served as a safe space for children on the city’s South Side, police said Friday.
Diontay Kimberly, 31, was identified by police as the man who allegedly shot and killed Verndell Smith, 32, in May 2021 as he was walking near his studio.
Kimberly was expected to appear for a court hearing later Friday on one count of first-degree murder, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
It was not immediately clear Friday whether Kimberly has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
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Police said an SUV’s driver pulled into a parking lot and opened fire last May, hitting Smith in the leg, arm, forehead and torso. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Although he was partially deaf, Smith “found his voice” through dancing, his sister LaToya Smith told the Sun-Times last year. He opened a dance studio, the Ultimate Threat Dance Organization, that he considered a safe space for children.