Smalls family speaks after arrest made in son’s fatal shooting

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 10:26 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Almost one year after the death of local artist, entrepreneur and community leader Kareem Smalls.... Savannah Police believe they found his killer.

Smalls, also known as “Free Lunch Baby” used his clothing brand to buy lunches for children in need. His family says he was able to feed up to 1,000 children in his community.

Monday, the Savannah Police Department charged 24-year-old Dyanta Samuels with murder. Police say he was already in custody at the Chatham County Detention Center on charges in connection to a drug investigation from August.

“I felt really overwhelmed and I had to breakdown because it was a long time coming that they really found the person that killed him,” said Kareem’s mother Lavaina Smalls.

It’s been almost a year since Lavaina Smalls lost her son in a fatal shooting on Draper Street. Now, the family has the answers they desperately wanted for almost a year.

“The detectives that worked on the case, they did a fantastic job,” said Smalls. “They stuck with me from day one when they got the case. One of guys told me, he asked me, ‘Do you believe?’ I said ‘Yes’ he said, ‘When I come back to you again, the case will be solved.’ And then it was, just like he said.”

Smalls’ family says they don’t want another family to go through what they’ve experienced.

“I’ve seen my family suffer the way we did I don’t want to see anyone else suffer like that because a lot of people are affected,” said Kareem Smalls’ uncle Timothy Smalls.

Savannah Police say the work of detectives and people coming forward with information helped lead to an arrest.

WTOC asked the family if they feel they now have justice after an arrest was made.

“I really do, said Smalls. “I really do feel like we got justice.”

Kareem’s family says they’re thankful to police and city leaders that supported them throughout this investigation. The family is waiting for a court date to find out why he was shot.

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