Tuesday, July 16, 2024

‘Don’t retaliate. Report’: $3k reward offered in Wilmington’s double homicide case, linked to TRU Colors

District Attorney Ben David says in addition to physical evidence, they need people to testify to help solve the case of a double homicide this past weekend. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands Williams)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY –– The New Hanover County Sheriff‘s Office and District Attorney Ben David offered no new information Wednesday in a roughly 9-minute press conference regarding Saturday’s double homicide with connections to TRU Colors, a local brewing company that employs active gang members.

Instead, the officials brought out the victims’ grieving families and pleaded for anyone with information to come forward. In partnership with Crime Stoppers, the sheriff’s office announced a $3,000 reward for any tips that may lead to an arrest.

David also urged anyone seeking revenge to allow justice to play out in a courtroom, not on the streets.

“Don’t retaliate. Report,” he added.

The shooting is still under investigation. It took place around 5:40 a.m., when a gunman entered a home on Providence Road and shot three people, killing Koredreese Robert Tyson, 29, and Bri-yanna Emily Williams, 21. A 21-year-old female victim, whose name has been withheld, suffered a gunshot to the chest, according to NHCSO. On the 911 call she disclosed she had been struck in the shoulder and arm. She was transported to the hospital and is currently stable.

The home is owned by TRU Color’s COO George Taylor III, and Tyson also had ties to the company, though his title is unknown.

Taylor was present during the shooting but endured no injuries, as made evident from a 911 call placed by the female victim. The audio revealed that Taylor was downstairs, while at least two of the victims were on the second floor in a bedroom; Williams’ location is not yet clear.

In the call, the female victim told the operator she did not see the assailant since it was dark.

District Attorney Ben David leaves the press conference without taking questions. A NHCSO spokesperson advised reporters there would be no questions since the case is still under investigation and the victims’ families were present. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands Williams)

During the press briefing, officials took no questions in a case that has raised countless. Since Tyson was a well-known member of the Gangster Disciples, it calls into question whether a retaliation is on the horizon.

David said he got to know Tyson before he died and knows members of his family.

In 2017, David included Tyson in an injunction against two dozen gang members in a legal maneuver using civil law to combat criminal activity. It was designed to prohibit the members from associating with each other in certain public spaces. David told Port City Daily in 2018 the members “can still have Thanksgiving together, you can still work together,” but that they would be jailed if they were congregated in certain neighborhoods, such as Creekwood.

In 2019 David allowed the injunction to expire, calling it successful in fighting gang-related crime. He said most people named had either left the lifestyle, were in prison or facing serious charges. David said Creekwood residents noticed substantially less gang activity.

Tyson’s and Taylor’s connection to the incident also raises questions about the credibility of TRU Colors and whether its mission to end street violence by employing rival gang members has had any success. Without selling a single beer, TRU Colors has already received an undisclosed investment from brewing giant Molson Coors. It operates out of a building it purchased in 2019 for $950,000 and pays a base $37,500 salary to all its employees.

Adrian Dixon begs for anyone with information to help law enforcement solve the case of her daughter’s murder. (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands Williams)

Only one 911 call was made during the incident, according to records requested by Port City Daily. According to a NHCSO spokesperson, any related information as to why that was is kept under wraps as part of the ongoing investigation.

“We are not going to talk about the case right now but what I’d like to say is, we need your help,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said at the onset of the brief conference.

McMahon said they need to stop the “crazy, senseless killing” and is asking anyone with information to call or submit an anonymous crime tip, if they fear backlash or have another reason to wish to keep their identity private.

David said he was confident people were out there, listening to the media briefing, and knew what happened and could be of help. He said solving the case would require a combination of physical evidence and people willing to testify. He called on those individuals to come forward, with members of the victims’ families standing around him.

“If you don’t want to hear me or the sheriff say that one more time, how about the people behind me? Don’t they deserve it?” David said.

Williams’ family held blown-up portraits of her during the press conference. Her mother, Adrian Dixon, begged for anyone with knowledge to share their tip, no matter how small, to help solve the case and bring peace to her mourning family. She spoke against the violence and said the past couple of months were a horrible time for her community.

“We need love right now. We don’t need nothing else, no more violence. It’s just too much,” Dixon said. “Nothing is too small. Whatever bit of information that you have, please come forward. I’m begging you, for my daughter, for her son. Grieving parents to another parent.”

Afterward, Tyson’s mother approached the microphone, wearing large sunglasses, and briefly urged peace.

“I don’t want no violence. My son wouldn’t want that,” she said. “Let’s just go in peace and just try to love one another.”

Anyone with information should contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office at 910-798-4162 or visit newhanoversheriff.com/submit-a-crime-tip.

Tyson’s mother ends the press conference with a message: “I don’t want no violence. My son wouldn’t want that. Let’s just go in peace and just try to love one another.” (Port City Daily photo/Alexandria Sands Williams)

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at alexandria@localdailymedia.com or on Twitter @alexsands_

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