‘Get these people off the streets’: Gravesite of murdered TRU Colors employee desecrated

The still-fresh gravesite of Koredreese R. Tyson was desecrated in the early morning hours Aug. 11, where arsonists burned arrangements and a funeral tent. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)
The still-fresh gravesite of Koredreese R. Tyson was desecrated in the early morning hours Aug. 11. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

WILMINGTON –– The gravesite of a well-known Gangster Disciples gang member who was killed in a double homicide last month was set ablaze in the early morning hours Wednesday. 

By the afternoon, the charred remains of flowers and other adornments had been cleared from the scene, but the smell of burnt plastic lingered. A buckled, Davis Funeral Home tent was strewn at the perimeter of the cemetery, several feet from the fresh gravesite, where grass hadn’t yet had a chance to crawl through. 

RELATED: 4 people, 2 dead, 1 call: 911 audio reveals new details of double homicide at TRU Colors COO’s home


Wilmington Fire Department responded to a large outside fire at the Calvary Memorial Cemetary on North 11th Street just after 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

Koredreese R. Tyson, 29, had been laid to rest just nine days prior. Family and friends had decorated his gravesite with greenery, Duke-blue ribbons and roses, and lettered floral arrangements that read his nicknames, “Korry,” and “THUG”.

His mother, Carol Tyson, had visited the site daily since the funeral. “We can replace the flowers and stuff, that’s replaceable. But it’s just the principle,” she said. “Y’all done killed my child, now y’all out there tearing up his grave. Leave us alone. That’s what I want –– just leave us alone.”

Koredreese was killed in a double homicide July 24 in the upscale Ogden neighborhood, Providence, where he had been staying in the home of his colleague, George Taylor III, the chief operating officer of TRU Colors Brewing. Employing active rival gang members, TRU Colors’ mission is to reduce gang violence and promote economic prosperity for low-income individuals by equipping them with marketable skill sets. 

Also killed in the incident was 21-year-old Bri-yanna Williams. Another unnamed 21-year old was shot that morning; she called 911 before 6 a.m. and told the operator she couldn’t see the assailant because it was dark and reported she was in the upstairs bedroom sleeping next to Tyson when the shooting began. Taylor was in the home at the time of the murders.

Carol Tyson considers her son’s murder an ambush and assassination. Solving the case would rid the community of dangerous people, she said, but it won’t bring her peace. 

“I’ll never be at peace. I’ll be happy that they [are] off the street, but I’m never going to be at peace because [of] the way they took him out,” she said. “I want them to solve it. Not only for my child but for that young lady too. She got family too. She was somebody too. It ain’t right. It’s not right.”

She said her son was a peace-keeper, worked and minded his business –– “[h]e didn’t bother nobody.” Still, he had various run-ins with the law, and had served time for carrying a weapon as a felon. For all the interactions her son had with law enforcement, Tyson asks that authorities investigate his murder with the same vigor. “I want the same energy, every time they see him, they stop him in his car, harassing him, I want the same energy for his death. I want justice for my son. Period.”

Four days after the Providence killings, New Hanover County Sheriff Ed MacMahon and District Attorney Ben David held a joint press conference, releasing no details about the case but appearing alongside the families of Tyson and Williams to beg the community for information. The sheriff’s office announced a $3,000 reward for tips that may lead to arrests. 

At the conference, David said got to know Tyson before his death. David named Tyson as a defendant in an injunction against two dozen gang members in 2017 in a legal maneuver utilizing civil law to fight criminal activity.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Jerry Brewer said the investigation is still open and has no new details to share as of Wednesday. If the Wilmington Police Department can figure out who set fire to Tyson’s gravesite, it may help the sheriff’s office’s investigation, Brewer said, but the office would not look into the matter on its own, as it occurred in WPD’s jurisdiction. 

Since appearing in the press conference, Carol Tyson said she’s received no updates from authorities. “When I start seeing something happening, I will get confidence [in them]. Right now I’m just lost. I’m just lost right now,” she said. “They just need to get these people off the streets. They are armed and dangerous.”

The case is among several high-profile disturbing unsolved murders, suspected to be connected to gang violence: The killer(s) of Tyson and Williams remain at large (authorities haven’t confirmed how many shooters were present); multiple shooters who killed three and injured four young adults and minors at an April house party off Kidder Street are still undetected; the shooter(s) –– again, unconfirmed how many ––  of a daylight drive-by shooting two weeks ago that killed a 50-year-old woman and injured a 48-year-old woman, each with no gang connections, is free. 

If there are suspects, authorities haven’t shared them and have made no arrests. In each case, officials emphasized the need for those who knew what happened to come forward.

After the Kidder Street murders, the home was tagged with gang symbolism, though it’s not clear whether the markings were to pay homage to or dishonor the dead. Following the 13th Street drive-by, WPD increased its patrols, with many officers putting in more overtime hours than usual.

“Chief Williams and the department have beefed up patrols,” WPD spokesperson Brandon Shope said Wednesday. “We are placing our officers strategically around the city to be a deterrent but also to be able to respond to incidents even faster.” 

WPD recently announced a $6,000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest in the drive-by shooting.

For those who know something but fear retaliation, Tyson encourages them to use the anonymous text-a-tip line. “If you know something and you seen something, you heard something, help people. This stuff is never going to stop if people keep quiet. You need to help people. For real, speak up, speak up,” she said. “I don’t want nobody else getting hurt. I don’t want nobody else to be killed. Let’s get these dangerous people off these streets.”

Submit a crime tip anonymously to the sheriff’s office online or text a tip to WPD at 847411 and use the keyword WPDNC.

The funeral tent was damaged in the early Wednesday morning fire. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna F. Still)

Send tips and comments to Johanna F. Still at johanna@localdailymedia.com

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