Deputies seek teen suspect in Middlesex County homicide


MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — A teenage suspect is being sought in connection to a homicide that left one person dead in Middlesex County over the weekend.

When you lose a child, you lose a big piece of you, said the victim’s mother Melissa Baker.

A spokesperson with the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office said deputies responded to the 5000 block of General Puller Highway around 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

The victim in the homicide was identified as 18-year-old Elijah Baker.

Photos: Victim of homicide in Middlesex County

The doctor pulled me in the room and said he didn’t make it, Baker added.  You think he’s going to come back, and he’s not.  You have to face a reality that no mother should have to face.

The sheriff’s office is looking for 16-year-old Tariq Joel Beane, of Lancaster, Virginia, on charges of first-degree murder, use of a firearm in commission of a felony and brandishing a firearm.

Why would you do that to somebody, Baker asked?  Who is cold-blooded enough to take somebody else’s life?  That was a child’s life, and he shot him in the back.

Baker’s truck was left with a series of bullet holes. 

It’s been hell, Baker said. There have been times I don’t want to stand up.

Deputies said witnesses told them a group of people from Lancaster County showed up to a party on General Puller Highway.  One person in the uninvited group started passing a handgun around to others in the group. Witnesses reported a member of the group got into a verbal fight with Baker and then other members of the group tried to attack him.

Baker got to a room and tried to lock the door then escape the room through a window. As Baker started climbing out the window, someone broke through the door and punched Baker, witnesses stated.  Once Baker got out of the back window, he ran towards his truck that was parked in the back yard of the home.

Kemonte Smith is charged with murder in connection with a homicide in Middlesex County. Mug shot courtesy Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center.

Witnesses then said the group went out the back door and ran after Baker. Investigators said at least one person in that group fired shots at Baker, while another person from the group was on the porch pointing a gun at Baker. 

Deputies charged 18-year-old Kemonte Smith of White Stone, with first degree murder. Investigators charged three other juveniles they have not named with first-degree murder by mob.

They are still searching for Beane.

It’s senseless and it’s hurtful, Baker added.

Baker’s family is now having to come up with the money to pay for funeral costs.  Money they say they simply don’t have.  Two gofundme pages have been set up to help them out.  Here is the other link.

Anyone with information about this case should call the Middlesex County Sheriffs Office Crime Line at 804-758-5600.

Stay with for the latest developments.

Correction: A previous version of this story spelled the suspect’s name as Tariq Joel Bean.

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