The violence surrounding the death of 21-year-old Leonard Raynod Smith-Matthews did not reflect the life he led, according to friends who mourned his death through Facebook and Twitter Friday.
Smith-Matthews of Edmonston was a 2008 graduate of Northwestern High School and a musician and rapper known as Damion Matthews, whose creativity bloomed from a young age.
But on Thursday, shortly after 6:30 p.m., he died after being stabbed in an altercation in the University Town Center in Hyattsville that involved nearly 30 people, according to police.
Friends credit him for opening their eyes and ears to new music — like Eddie Kyle, who brought his camera to Northwestern to film the freestyle-rap jams of his friends.
Christopher Cease remembered Smith-Matthews as someone who was always working hard to make a living or writing lyrics.
"You can't say anything bad about an honest man doing honest work, trying to make an honest living for himself," Cease posted on Facebook.
Although he didn't know Smith-Matthews, Mizter D. Ortiz said, "Everytime I saw him he was listening to music or had the headphones chilling around his neck."
Several YouTube videos were posted on the dedication Facebook page and a recent search for Damion Matthews videos on YouTube resulted in 56 posts.
Smith-Matthews had his own Twitter account (@Damion_Matthews), where he described himself as an "MC/Rapper/Artist or whatever" and where he promoted his music's website. His last tweet was on June 29, a day before he was stabbed. He also had Facebook and MySpace pages to promote his music.
At this time we have no information about the service for Smith-Matthews.