Birmingham construction worker shot dead allegedly victim of thieves targeting Hispanics

A construction worker was shot dead during a robbery at a house being renovated in Ensley on Wednesday night, Birmingham Police say.

The shooting happened just after 7pm in the 1400 block of 27th Street in Ensley.

The construction crew was inside the house when a group of men forced their way inside and robbed everyone on the crew, Officer Truman Fitzgerald said. The victim was killed during the robbery.

Investigators believe there is a good chance that suspects are is part of a group that has been targeting Hispanic construction workers and other Hispanic victims since October.

Although one suspect has been arrested and another is charged but still at large, Fitzgerald told investigators that other members of the group remain at large.

“As many of you know, we have had a series of robberies that have taken place since October of last year where suspects absolutely attacked our Hispanic brothers and sisters and we believe that this event tonight was not than that,” Fitzgerald said.

“It was the night we prayed against and sadly,” he said, “we lost one of our Hispanic brothers to a robbery.”

Earlier this month, police announced that they were looking for Jakobie Deontay Smith, 20, who has been charged with at least 32 counts of first-degree robbery.

Jakobie Deontay Smith (Jefferson County Jail)

In November, investigators charged 19-year-old Evontay Blevins with 32 counts of first-degree robbery. They held back from announcing his arrest while they attempted to locate Smith.

Blevins remains detained in Jefferson County on bonds totaling more than $2 million.

In late October, police announced that more than 40 Hispanic victims had been targeted that month, with at least six people robbed in five different incidents in less than four hours in one day.

“It’s extremely alarming because we know this group won’t stop until we stop them,” Fitzgerald said at the time. “They showed no signs that they were going to stop.”

Among the victims were families and workers at construction sites and other businesses.

Police have been working to get the word out to potential victims and even contractors and business owners who hire Hispanic workers.

He said Hispanic victims are often the targets of robberies because they often carry large sums of cash and are sometimes reluctant to notify police when victimized.

Fitzgerald said Wednesday night’s robbery was very similar to those in the past, but the first to become fatal.

“It’s just a night we all feared,” he said.

The victim is Birmingham’s seventh homicide and the first in 10 days.

Anyone with information is asked to call Birmingham Homicide Detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

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