Commentary

Maryland police renew efforts, but slaying of postman from Rock Hill still unsolved

November 30, 2013 

Tyson Barnette

The family of slain postal worker Tyson Barnette spent Saturday preparing to bury him in Rock Hill. At the same time, homicide detectives and federal agents retraced the last trip Barnette made Nov. 23 outside Washington, D.C., when he was gunned down while delivering mail.

Barnette was born and raised in Rock Hill and had worked for the U.S. Postal Service in Maryland for years. The crime that has stunned Barnette’s family remains unsolved.

“We haven’t heard a single thing new about my son,” said Bridget Barnette, Tyson Barnette’s mother. “Not one word.”

The crime has so far baffled police in the Maryland suburb of Landover. Barnette, 26, was inside his mail truck around 7:20 p.m. Nov. 23 when he was attacked by unknown assailants. A combined local and federal task force of investigators Saturday morning canvassed the neighborhood where Barnette was killed for the second time in a week, and again distributed fliers to neighbors and passersby.

“We retraced his last route, we were knocking on doors, trying to engage the residents here, and hoping that someone may have heard something or seen something,” said Officer Nicole Hubbard, a spokeswoman for the Prince George’s County Police Department.

A $125,000 reward has been offered for information in the case. Police have released few details, but family members said Barnette had a package for delivery to an address where the home was vacant.

Tyson Barnette worked as a mail carrier for the past six years after graduating from Northwestern High School.

Union officials with the National Letter Carriers Association are furious that Barnette was working so late, after dark, at the time of the crime. Barnette’s family also is upset that after a full shift, he was still working.

The crime, and police investigation since, remains a national story because Barnette was on duty as a federal employee at the time of the killing. Killing a federal employee on duty can carry the death penalty upon conviction.

Police want to “give the family some closure,” said Hubbard, but so far there have been no answers to suit any family members.

“We know that the police were going out again today in the case, but we just are waiting for someone to tell us they found out who did this,” said Benita Davis, Barnette’s aunt.

The funeral for Tyson Barnette is Sunday at 1 p.m. at Foundation AME Zion Church in Rock Hill. Taiwan Jackson, Barnette’s girlfriend from Maryland who traveled to Rock Hill for the funeral, said she is confident police are working to solve the crime, but all those who loved Tyson Barnette want the killer or killers caught.

“It seems they (police) are doing what they are supposed to do, but they still haven’t caught who did this,” Jackson said.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •  adys

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