A man who is accused of fatally shooting two sisters at a Texas A&M University-Commerce residence hall this week is facing another capital murder charge in connection with a man’s death in Denton.
Jacques Dshawn Smith, 21, faces a capital murder of multiple persons charge in connection with the deaths of Deja Matts, 19, and Abbaney Matts, 20, on Monday at the dorm. Abbaney Matts’ 2-year-old son also was wounded in the shooting and was hospitalized in stable condition.
When authorities searched his Rowlett home after the shootings, they said they found evidence that connected him and two other men to the death of 22-year-old Steven Daniels in December.
Denton police found Daniels lying on the ground inside a gated apartment complex parking lot in the 900 block of Cleveland Street about 11:30 p.m. Dec. 31. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest about 40 minutes later, according to medical examiner’s records.
The two other men in the Denton case — Jalin Hargrove, 23, and Earnest Rogers, 26 — are being held in the Denton jail on one count each of capital murder, with bail set at $1 million each.
Smith faces a capital murder charge for the Denton case, with bail set at $1 million. Bail is also set at $1 million in the Texas A&M-Commerce case. He remains in custody in the Hunt County jail.
At a news conference, Denton Police Chief Frank Dixon called the three men “very violent individuals.”
“They didn’t just impact families in Denton. They didn’t just impact Texas A&M-Commerce,” he said. “They impacted families across not just those jurisdictions, but beyond.”
The chief said Smith had not been a suspect in the Denton murder investigation until late Tuesday.
Denton police wrote in an arrest-warrant affidavit that a detective already had an eye on the home where Smith was arrested in the 8300 block of Luna Road. Rogers, who is described in the affidavit as Smith’s uncle, also lived there, and police suspected him in the Denton murder case.
When Rowlett police and the Texas Rangers went to the home Tuesday to arrest Smith, Denton detectives were called to help because the address had been connected to the Denton investigation, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said an informant reported Smith had told him that he was with Rogers when Daniels was shot and that they had taken his pistol and phone.
Previous domestic-violence arrest
A week before the shooting, Smith was arrested on an aggravated assault charge after he attacked Abbaney Matts and threatened her with a knife, Garland police said.
Smith showed up at Matts’ home in Garland Jan. 27 after she told him they needed to take a break in their relationship, according to an arrest-warrant affidavit. They began to argue, and Smith became violent when Matts asked him to leave. He broke a glass lamp over her head and threw a box fan at her, according to the affidavit.
Matts told police Smith threw a television at her, then body slammed her onto the tile floor in the kitchen, where he repeatedly hit her over the head with a frying pan.
At one point, Smith got on top of Matts, who was still on the floor, and pulled a knife on her and told her he was going to kill her, the affidavit said.
He was arrested that same day after police caught him driving Matts’ car. He told police he took the car “because he helps her pay for it,” according to the affidavit.
Smith was released from jail Jan. 29 after he posted a $15,000 bond.
Campus safety plan
In a letter to students and staff members Wednesday, Texas A&M-Commerce President Mark Rudin announced a campus safety plan in response to the shooting.
The university will immediately begin to implement the plan, which includes increased campus police patrols, Rudin said.
“We live in a world now where what happened on our campus can, unfortunately, happen anywhere,” he wrote. “We have been diligent when it comes to safety and security, and we need to be proactive and constantly reassessing if we are doing enough.”
The safety plan says personnel will be added to front desks at residence halls to monitor access 24 hours a day. The front desks are now staffed from 8 a.m. to midnight, the document says, and the expanded hours will be in place by the end of the semester.
Authorities have not said how Smith, the shooting suspect, got inside the residence hall.
A&M-Commerce also will improve campus lighting, create a safe-walk system for students getting around campus and increase safety training for students and staff.
Rudin said he understood students’ frustration with the amount of information the university provided immediately after the shooting. It wasn’t until Tuesday evening that officials even mentioned a suspect — when they announced Smith had been taken into custody.
“Like you, I want to know exactly what is going on during every step of the investigation. However, that simply is not possible,” he said. “Many of the things we wanted to say publicly to students, faculty, staff and families could have potentially jeopardized the criminal case.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up in memory of the Matts sisters.
Resources for domestic violence survivors
To find emergency shelter or talk with a professional as a victim or as a concerned friend or family member, contact:
The Family Place | 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 214-941-1991
Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support: 214-946-4357
Brighter Tomorrows: 972-262-8383
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233