Family of slain Silver Spring man pleads for public to help identify killer -- Gazette.Net


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The story was updated at 5:10 p.m. on June 7, 2012.

The last time Michael Somuah spoke to his brother, Eric, was Monday night as the two chatted about a sports game.

At 4:50 p.m. Wednesday, Montgomery County police officers entered Eric’s apartment in the 1100 block of East-West Highway to find the 34-year-old dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Eric’s family was devastated, Michael said.

“He was very, very full of life, personality-wise; he had a nice smile, he had charisma to brighten up a room,” Michael said of his brother Thursday. “That’s why it’s just a shock to me why someone would want to take his life. ... He was our everything.”

Shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday Michael got a call from Brian Armstrong, Eric’s friend of 18 years and a manager at the Manhattan Jaguar Dealership on Old Georgetown Road, where Eric had worked as a salesman for more than two years. Eric had missed work Tuesday, and by Wednesday his colleagues were growing concerned, Armstrong said.

“The first day I blew it off, but the second day I got worried so I called his family; I called his brother, Michael, and he told the rest of his family,” Armstrong said. “The family called the police and asked them to investigate.”

Detectives investigating the death quickly ruled it a probable homicide, said Officer Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, but little else is being released by homicide detectives as of Thursday afternoon. Information about the condition of Eric’s apartment, any weapons found or clues as to what may have happened remain under wraps, Innocenti said.

“I really don’t have that much information yet as the detectives are still investigating [the incident],” she said.

Eric was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore Wednesday, where examiners will try to determine the cause and time of death, Innocenti added.

Meanwhile, Eric’s friends and family are left to sit back and wonder what could have happened to Eric, the youngest of four siblings and an aspiring medical staffing entrepreneur.

Thomas Gaye, who owns a medical staffing company in Rockville, was introduced to Eric through one of Eric’s co-workers and the two became friends, often calling one another to discuss Gaye’s business, a model Eric hoped to emulate someday, Gaye said.

“I was kind of coaching him on how to start his business so we came to talk a lot,” Gaye said. “He worked really hard, he was always very passionate every time we talked about his plans to launch his own business.”

Armstrong, who has been friends with Eric since the two worked at another dealership in Virginia, described his friend as a hard worker and an avid basketball player.

“He was a great guy,” Armstrong said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Michael said he and his family are determined to help police identify and apprehend his brother’s killer, a goal he hopes they are not alone in.

“I want him to be remembered as one who loved life, he loved life, he loved people; he’d give his last to you if he had it,” Michael said. “So if you have any information, if you’ve seen anything or heard anything, please, please contact the proper authorities so we can find out who did this.”

Anyone with any information about the homicide should contact the county police department’s Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 866-411-8477.

jarias@gazette.net