A 31-year-old man was arrested Monday in the death of a security guard known by residents at a Long Beach housing complex for his kind greetings and warm smile that brightened the day.
Derrick Smith, 54, was struck and killed Saturday when a hit-and-run driver crashed into his guard shack.
On Tuesday, police arrested 31-year-old Quentin Darnell Black, of Moreno Valley, in connection with the crash. He was booked on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and one count of felony hit-and-run resulting in death or injury.
Bail was set at $100,000.
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It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
Residents, many of whom knew the guard well, said Smith was in his guard shack when he was struck by an SUV.
Smith always had a friendly smile and greeting, grieving residents said.
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“He was good people,” said a resident. “Everybody here liked him. Everybody knew him. He would brighten up your day. He had a genuine, genuine smile.”
Smith worked at Century Villages housing for several years. The complex in the 2000 block of River Avenue provides short-term and permanent housing for people in crisis and veterans.
“Every time I’d come over here, he’d wave and smile,” one woman said. “He was nice to everybody.”
The guard shack was destroyed in the crash. The driver apparently ran from the scene, authorities said.
“I heard the crash, I heard the sound, but I thought was a train,” one witness said. “It looked like a small tornado.”