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The Senseless Murder of Tyrone Love

February 17, 2009


Photo by Tunde Salisbury

By Sable Verity

It never matters how tired I am of writing about young Black men being gunned down in Seattle’s streets.  It seems we can only manage to have a few weeks pass by before another incident happens, and I am back here, trying to find words that will give meaning to life now lost.  They are words I simply don’t have.  There are no words to adequately convey how shocking, how utterly shocking this is, and how wrong it feels.

The majority of these shootings have been labeled “gang related” by the status quo; the Mayor and cronies, the police department and daily papers.  Each time these deaths are stamped with the gang label, the rest of Seattle tunes out.  Detectives insist that no arrests can be made because of an unwritten street code of silence.

And here we are again.  Reports came in early that a shooting had happened overnight in the Central District.  Within hours the victim’s identity was broadcast across text messages, MySpace and facebook; Tyrone Love.

From the Seattle Times and Seattle PI:

According to an eyewitness, Love was walking alone in the 2600 block of East Cherry Street just before 2 a.m. when a man pulled up in a car, jumped out, ran toward Love and shot him several times.

Some acquaintances suggested that Love’s death might be connected with an ongoing investigation into the fatal, gang-related shooting at Vito’s Madison Grill in November. Police would not confirm whether Love was linked to it.

But one law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described a small circle of men who promote parties, attend clubs and may know gang members — at least peripherally.



No.  No that can’t be right.  There must be a mistake.

Isn’t that what we say every time?  There must be  mistake.

We can already bet on what the status quo is going to say about Tyrone.  We can already bet that most of it will not come close to resembling the young man many of us have known.  The comments sections for both online editions of the dailies are filled with hate and judgment- it’s the greater Seattle way.

But Tyrone was not a criminal.

He was not a gang member.

Again, from the PI:

Well-known in his Central District neighborhood, Love has no criminal record and often helps support his mother, who is raising a teenage daughter. The bulk of his work experience, other than party promotions, is in after-school care for children.

Lawrence Epps, 24, sat at the Meredith Matthews YMCA, barely able to keep from crying. Love had been a mentor to him and dozens of other young people there, he said.

“Tyrone was kind of a shoulder to cry on for kids, and he helped me to understand the importance of being a father figure to them,” Epps said.

Whenever one of those young people began veering toward trouble, Love was the one to steer them straight.

“He was always the voice of reason,” Epps said. “Pretty much everything I know, I got from him.”

He didn’t deserve to be shot to death.

Tyrone loved the Seattle hip/hop scene (one that doesn’t get much respect on a national level), and worked hard at what he loved.  He was a nice, genuine, loving, funny, intelligent young man.  His death is a true loss.  His murder should be unacceptable and his killer(s) must be brought to justice.

This is a loss for all of us.  All death is painful for those left behind.  But when someone you love is murdered …these young men that have died at the hands of other young men, the loss of their lives is wrong.  The chaos, pain, confusion, anger and hatred born of these deaths is wrong.  The scapegoating, the protection of the guilty, it’s all just wrong.  That is all I can feel, that is all I can think; this is so wrong.

See also: When Seattle Let Love Die

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Gabby permalink
    February 17, 2009 12:11 am

    He did not deserve this! Tyrone was a good man, a great friend and a one of a kind brother. We miss you T-Love! R.I.P. You are truely missed and will never be forgotten!

  2. Sable permalink
    February 17, 2009 12:17 am

    Thanks Gabby.

    Share the link to this post. We want to provide a place for people to come and leave POSITIVE comments about T. Love.

  3. Otieno permalink
    February 17, 2009 1:41 am

    Tyrone…R.I.P. thanks for all the inspiration.

  4. Andrew permalink
    February 17, 2009 9:17 am

    I had the good fortune of crossing paths with Tyrone at the Meredith Matthews East Madison YMCA. He always had a big smile and hello for everyone there. I didn’t know Tyrone other than the great employee/person at the Y, but on the surface, this seems absolutely senseless.

  5. Ana permalink
    February 17, 2009 9:38 am

    Tyrone was an amazing young man. He was always one person whenever I saw him put a smile on my face. He will be missed and forever in my heart.

  6. February 17, 2009 10:08 am

    This tragedy hurts us all. Brotherhood is the strongest force in the universe, but we humans have not yet realized its power. We continue to sabbotage our own existence by destroying our best and brightest. RIP. My condolences to freinds and fam.

  7. Helen permalink
    February 17, 2009 11:48 am

    I didn’t know Tyrone, but you make me wish I had. I am so sorry.

  8. February 17, 2009 12:59 pm

    RIP ***Tyrone Love***

    To all that knew him while he was still here and to those who have come to know him because of the horrible tragedy that’s impacting our streets… This is a call for all of us to get together and make an impact in our streets.

    If you have a myspace please add the following page:


  9. Ian permalink
    February 17, 2009 4:35 pm

    I had the pleasure of working with Tyrone when he promoted the nightclub I bartended at. As everyone else has said, he embodied the best of all of us. The person or persons responsible for this extreme act of cowardice have robbed the community of perhaps one of the most positive people in it.

    Someone out there knows something. Please put aside fear, pride, or whatever it may be and make an anonymous phone call. We can’t let evil like this thrive in our communities any longer. Speak out, for I’m sure Tyrone would have for you.

  10. RIP permalink
    February 17, 2009 7:30 pm

    thank you… well written

  11. February 17, 2009 8:09 pm

    211 Love…. R.I.P. Tyrone… We lost a good one. A non-violence activist becomes an example. Bitter-Sweet but still B.S.

  12. Susanna permalink
    February 17, 2009 10:32 pm

    I heard about Tyrone’s death during a meeting in Olympia with participants in the Got Green and Moontown Foundation projects who were meeting with Rep. Eric Pettigrew. Surrounded by outstanding, motivated, visionary young men and women of color (among whom Tyrone Love himself should have been that day), the urgency of the work that needs to be done could not have been clearer. Seattle, we have a problem.

  13. Lizzie Ekong permalink
    February 17, 2009 10:42 pm

    Tyrone….so humble, positive, and joyful. It’s hard to believe that someone out there had it in for him. If this isn’t the last straw that makes EVERYONE stand up and refuse to tolerate the violence than Tyrone lost his life for nothing. Tyrone you will be missed so much.

  14. Siobhan permalink
    February 17, 2009 11:13 pm

    Thank you for the honest and moving words. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost their friend and mentor and family member in this young man. I could barely stand to see the vigil out there tonight – and know another life lost and more pain for young people to bear.

  15. fiera permalink
    February 18, 2009 10:59 am

    I knew Tyrone from the Y. Not well, but well enough to be happy to see him every morning — he had a bright, sweet, positive presence. When I read the name in the paper, I had the same thought: NO. Not Tyrone. I just can’t make sense of this.

  16. Sherrie permalink
    February 18, 2009 3:48 pm

    Tyrone will be missed. I hope that the impact his life made on others does not go unnoticed. He is deserving of justice. RIP T-Love.

  17. February 19, 2009 4:30 pm

    I knew Tyrone from the Y. As a mother, I saw Tyrone do wonders with the kids. My daughter would go to the Y, not to work out, but to see Tyrone. He gave her the best advice on boys,freindships,studying,staying in school, respecting herself as a lady,and specifically STAYING AWAY FROM GANGS! Tyrone stood for what was right. If anything he saw someone doing something wrong and probably tried to prevent it! The Seattle Police aren’t going to do a damn thing to solve it. Why? Because he’s another black male from the C-District and they don’t care. Tyrone was not a gang banger. I work at one of the community colleges and he was a student here at one time wanting to get a degree to help him do his business. He was an upstanding individual with a good head on his shoulders. My heart goes out to his family.

  18. jenn permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:34 pm

    When I heard that it had been Tyrone Love that had been shot, I almost fell out of my chair. I knew Tyrone because I’m a member of the Meredith Matthews YMCA where he used to work. There are just some people that you know intuitively are filled with love, authenticity and genuineness. Tyrone was one of those people. I am so sad for his loss and that the world will not know how amazing this young man was. While my conversations with Tyrone Love were usually brief, he was always filled with light and love. Every time I saw him I would think about how his last name fit him so well, he really emitted love to all he came in contact with. Thanks for letting me share this.

  19. February 19, 2009 8:02 pm

    My love and prayers go out to Tyrone’s family both blood and extended. We need to be more outraged about the loss of a positive man like T Love then some cartoon in the NY post. Far far more important.

  20. February 19, 2009 9:10 pm

    I could’t have said it better….thanks for breaking it down so eloquently..

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