CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (SCRIPPS) — Nearly nine years after a security guard was found beaten to death near his crashed patrol vehicle, investigators say they have new leads and are confident they will solve the case.
“I absolutely believe it will get solved, but only with the help of the community,” said Chesterfield Police Corporal Detective Johnny Cappocelli.
Cappocelli is part of the Chesterfield County Police Department’s Unsolved Major Investigations Group that has been assigned to the case.
Damion West was 28 years old when he was killed on July 9, 2009, while working as a security guard at the Ivy Walk Apartment complex in Chesterfield County.
“Our victim, Mr. West worked as a security guard, civilian security guard in this community,” said Cappocelli. “His day-to-day responsibilities were to document confrontations or contact if you will with residents and those not part of this community.”
As he did on the evening of July 8, 2009, after responding multiple times to disruptive teens smoking marijuana in a hallway of the complex, according to police.
“He knew one individual by the name of Chris,” said Cappocelli. “He had documented that in his reports and mentioned that the other individuals were people he knew by name or face. He knew at least a couple of the people he encountered.”
“He had left a voicemail to the management of this community letting them know there was contact with some individuals,” Cappocelli explained.
“I remember him saying one of the guys he had words with and I guess he felt like it was over,” said West’s mother Patricia Blowe.
That was the last time Blowe heard her son’s voice, and at 4:00 a.m., July 9, 2009, West would clock out at Ivy Walk apartments and never be heard from again.
“When did you know something was wrong?” asked WTVR reporter Laura French.
Through tears, Blowe responded, “I can remember that day right now.”
The 911 communications from that morning captured confused residents leaving for work and noticing West’s crashed patrol car into a tree.
“Chesterfield 911 what is your emergency?” said the dispatcher.
“In Iron Bridge Ivy Walk there’s a security car look like it ran off the road ran into a tree,” said a caller. “Looks like it was leaving the complex and ran off the road and ran off the curb,” he added.
“Is the person still inside?” asked the dispatcher. “I didn’t look to see if anyone was in there because I am on my way to work.”
“That don’t look normal to me,” explained another caller.
Police responded and found West’s bludgeoned body 100 feet from his vehicle near a retention pond fence. His son Damion Junior was just three years old when his father was murdered.
“His job called back and said ‘Ms. West, we are calling you back to let you know your son is dead,’” said Blowe.
“The manner in which he was beat is about as tragic and graphic a scene as I have seen in my 27 years of doing this job,” said Cappocelli.
Investigators feel they are closer to solving the case.
“There have been many people interviewed some of which could potentially be persons of interest,” said Cappocelli. “Members of this police department are not going to stop investigating. We are going to continue to knock on doors, we will continue to approach people we hope will come forward with information.”
Police say evidence found at the scene is continually being processed.
“Some of the pieces left at the scene indicated that one of the weapons used was a wooden object of some type,” said Cappocelli.
“We’re going to continue to follow up on them until we can put that item in our suspect’s hand.”
Blowe requested the medical examiner’s report and through tears described what she saw of her son’s injuries.
“It wasn’t just his head. It was all over his body, his fingers, his legs, his arms, his shoulders, his mouth, even to his chest… All the bruises that was on him… That hurt,” she explained.
“What kind of person would do that to your son?” asked French.
“To me, that’s the work of the devil,” Blowe responded. “The work of the devil, the devil does mean things to people,” she added.
Blowe, along with investigators, believes West knew the person(s) who killed him.
“It is the opinion of the prior investigators, that there was a possibility that they at least knew each other, either through direct contact from his employment or interactions within his community of some type,” said Cappocelli.
“What would bring you closure?” French asked Blowe.
“If the people stepped up,” Blowe responded. “I want to know, I am a mother, I have the right to know what happened to my child and why. I think they need to come forward because if you can do the crime you can do the time.”
“We know that there are members of our community that have information out there that have chosen not to come forward,” said Cappocelli.
“Put yourself in the shoes of the victim’s family. Realize, that you could be living next door to those people or persons responsible.”
“I miss him so much, I really do miss him so much,” said Blowe.
“She, [Blowe] is the reason why we will not stop,” added Cappocelli.
The Chesterfield Police Department produced a video on the unsolved homicide around the 8th anniversary in hopes of getting new information on the case.
If you know anything about West’s murder, call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or Corporal Detective Johnny Capocelli at 804-381-3261. Click here to email a tip to the WTVR Problem Solvers. Be sure to leave us your name, phone number and detailed description of the problem. You can also leave a message by calling 804-254-3672.
This story was originally published May 8, 2018, by Laura French of WTVR, in Richmond, Va.