Ian Headley couldn’t shake free from an eerie feeling as he walked away victorious from Boca Raton High School’s football game Friday. Then he learned his older brother, Jermaine Lloyd Smith, had been killed.
Headley, an assistant coach for the team, was reading recaps online following the 36-13 season-opening victory over Doral Academy when he stumbled upon a news story about a 35-year-old man with that name being fatally shot in Delray Beach.
At first, Headley thought it was all just a coincidence, saying it must have been just another case of gun violence with no connection to his family. But Headley’s father called to reel him in, confirming the news report.
Delray Beach police said they found Smith’s body on the 100 block of Northwest Sixth Avenue, a block north of Atlantic Avenue and three blocks west of the city’s tennis center. He was pronounced dead at Delray Medical Center. According to police, Smith was killed by a single gunshot wound.
No one had been arrested in the shooting as of Thursday morning. The homicide was the seventh confirmed one in Delray Beach this year and the 66th in Palm Beach County, according to a Palm Beach Post online database. One of the seven homicides was an officer-involved shooting.
Headley said Smith was a caring man with a great sense of humor who played football at Atlantic High School in the early 2000s and then semi-pro for the Delray East Coast Reapers a few years ago. He made a living as a freelance licensed barber and worked part time at their father’s cabinet business.
The brothers weren’t in contact every day because Smith “was going through some things,” Headley said, adding that Smith was optimistic about getting his life together after a few shortcomings.
“ ‘Today for you, tomorrow for me,’ which means, today you can be going through it, and I can be going through it,” Headley said Smith used to caution him. They last spoke about a month ago, right before Headley, who owns a physical-training business called Epic Sports Performance, embarked on a tour of colleges.
“Jermaine wanted to get a workout in. Just bouncing ideas off the wall to do some personal training and talk,” Headley said.
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Smith is survived by nine children and a big extended family, scattered between Florida, the Bahamas and Jamaica, Headley said.
“The reasons why I feel like I’m successful is because of his mentorship. How to think. How to approach people. My brother didn’t have any fear.
“My brother was a good person. People say that all the time when people die, but I genuinely, wholeheartedly, know that my brother was a good person.”
City police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Kyle Lundgren at 561-243-7867 or Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 800-458-TIPS (8477).