Commentary

Still no arrests in death of Rock Hill native shot in Maryland

adys@heraldonline.comNovember 26, 2013 

  • Services for Tyson Barnette

    The family of Tyson Barnette will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Robinson Funeral Home, 534 Hampton St., Rock Hill.

    The funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at Foundation AME Zion Church, 1852 Neely Store Road, Rock Hill.

    In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Barnette’s memory be sent to CRAVE (the after-school program at Emmett Scott Recreation Center), P.O. Box 12372, Rock Hill, SC, 29731.

Despite a squadron of police officers canvassing the Maryland neighborhood where Rock Hill native Tyson Barnette was gunned down Saturday night – and $125,000 in reward money being offered to get help from the public – investigators have yet to make an arrest in a case that has devastated Barnette’s family.

The 26-year-old mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service was delivering mail about 7:20 p.m. Saturday in Landover, Md., outside Washington, D.C., when he was shot multiple times while sitting in his mail truck.

The shooting death has outraged Barnette’s family, as well as postal carriers concerned about working after dark.

Barnette – a former Northwestern High School football player and wrestler – was unarmed when he was attacked in a crime that has shocked everyone who knew the shy, gentle, six-year postal service employee – just the latest victim of gun violence that seems to have no end.

“We haven’t heard anything new, and thankfully this killing of my son is getting national attention,” said Clayton Barnette. “What happened to my son should not happen.”

Police still have not determined a motive for the killing or named any suspects, said Cpl. Maria McKinney, spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Police Department, just outside the nation’s capital.

Because the shooting happened so close to Washington – and the victim was a federal employee on duty, and both the Postal Service and local police in Maryland are offering rewards – there has been a flurry of attention to the killing.

Both federal postal investigators and Maryland police are investigating the murder.

Barnette lived about 10 miles from where he was killed, family members said, and he already had finished his shift. But he agreed to work overtime to help out another carrier.

Detectives were following leads Tuesday after officers blanketed the neighborhood where Barnette was shot to distribute flyers, McKinney said. The police department in Maryland also is using social media to solicit information from the public – and to keep people informed.

“But as of right now, there isn’t anything new we can say,” McKinney said.

Barnette, the oldest of five siblings, moved to suburban Washington soon after graduating from Northwestern High. Family members are dealing with police and postal investigators from Maryland, while planning his funeral in Rock Hill.

“Tyson was a fine young man,” said Benita Davis, Barnette’s aunt. “What happened to him still has all of us in a state of shock.”

Barnette’s mother, Bridget Barnette, and grandfather, Sam Barnette, drive Rock Hill school buses. Fellow employees are in disbelief over his killing.

June Barnette said the killing of his great-nephew is another sad example of the proliferation of gun violence.

“Everyone has said for years what a good man Tyson was, how he worked so hard – and he gets shot in the street,” he said. “He is a young man killed by a gun.

“This violence, this terrible killing, it happened outside of Washington, but it hurts people back here where this young man came from.”

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •  adys@heraldonline.com

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