Much of the Twin Cities is mourning the loss of community activist Tyrone Rashad Williams.
Williams was shot and killed early Tuesday evening (April 3) outside of his family home near 8th Avenue North and Elwood Avenue in Minneapolis. Police are not releasing many details on the shooting, but during a Wednesday (April 4) remembrance near the site of the shooting Williams’ sister, Raeisha Williams chronicled the moments before and after her brother was killed.
“My bother was on the couch with his daughters playing and had just done a reading of a Dr. Seuss book set to a Migos song and he got up to go to work and hugged and kissed his kids, then he walked outside and we heard what sounded like gunshots, and my mother said, ‘Your brother just went outside, check on him,’” said Raeisha Williams. “I looked outside and didn’t see him, so then I called out for him and he didn’t answer, so I went outside and he was laying on the ground. He said, ‘I’m shot.’ There was a woman over him trying to help him and she called police, and I was there with him telling him to be strong, ‘Be strong for your daughters’ (saying each one by name).”
Reaisha Williams said her brother was a loving father, devoted son and tireless community champion.
“On the eve of the (50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr.) Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination, another great asset of the community was taken from us … gunned down by evil,” said Raeisha Williams.
Tyrone Rashad Williams is well known throughout the region as a passionate, socially conscious, advocate for civil and human rights. He was active in calls for justice in the police killings of Marcus Golden, Jamar Clark and Philando Castile and traveled to the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota to stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“The Twin Cities of Minnesota has lost a great human being. Ty (Rashad) Williams, stood up with us in 2016 at Standing Rock against the Dakota access pipeline in North Dakota and was a great comrade in the movements of the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Many thoughts of love and condolences to his family and friends from our group Native Lives Matter,” wrote Native Lives Matter on its Facebook page.
During the remembrance, members of the Dakota community prayed in their original language with the family and mourners.
Tyrone Rashad Williams’ mother said her son’s legacy of fighting for justice must continue.
“Tyrone’s death will not be in vain. His spirit for social justice will continue on and inspire us all to do even more. We must work with the children and teach them to love themselves, so they can love others. We must combat oppression against African-Americans and other people of color in all its forms,” said in a statement Rosemary Nevils-Williams, mother of Tyrone Williams.
Friend and community organizer, Nekima Levy-Pounds wrote on her Facebook page that Tyrone Rashad Williams was, “a true frontline warrior in the fight for justice, a revolutionary and entrepreneur.”
He founded Black Coalition Clothing.
Raeisha Williams called on those with information about her brother’s death to come forward.
“This was a senseless murder. Tyrone didn’t have to die,” said Raeisha Williams. “Somebody knows something.”
Scott Seroka, public information officer with the Minneapolis Police Department said they are following-up on leads and are looking for one or possibly two vehicles that were seen in the area at the time of the shooting.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). All tips are anonymous and those who provide information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a financial reward. People with information may also text their tip to 847411 (TIP411). Enter MPD, a space, and then the information. The text messages are assigned a tip number and the police department has no way of identifying the source of the information. All texts are anonymous. People with information may also call the Minneapolis Police Department Tip Line at (612) 692-TIPS (8477).
The Williams family is well known throughout the Twin Cities. Raeisha Williams, is a past Minneapolis NAACP board member and this past November she was a candidate for Minneapolis City Council (5th Ward). The family also runs the recently opened Heritage Tea House in St. Paul.