YORK -- York authorities are trying to determine how a pair of sandals and a white sports utility vehicle factor into the shooting death of 63-year-old Ernest Tyron Tolbert.
The York sanitation worker was shot Sept. 28 as he prepared to clean a Blackburn Street coin laundry. Before the shooting, a woman drove by the laundry and noticed a white SUV and a man, police said.
"She said she waved to Ernest and kept on going," York City Police Detective Billy Mumaw said. "Ernest waved back."
The woman also noticed a black man who wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans, he said. Police know Tolbert moved a trash bin to the laundry front and put cleaning supplies on a table before he was shot.
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"He was only there for three to five minutes," Mumaw said. "His (cleaning) supplies and rags were still tied up."
What happened after Tolbert moved the trash can and put out his supplies is still sketchy, police said.
"He was shot inside (the laundry) towards the back door and staggered out the front," Mumaw said about Tolbert, who collapsed on the ground in front of the laundry. "We believe the triggerman went out the back door."
About 15 yards from the laundry, police recovered a pair of sandals.
"The bottoms were wet, and the tops were dry," Mumaw said of the sandals. "They hadn't been there very long."
But police can't answer why the sandals were there, he said.
"We don't know if the shoes belong to the murderer or if they belong to a witness who walked up and took off because he got scared," Mumaw said.
Police are asking for the community to help his family find closure by bringing justice in Tolbert's homicide.
"We know somebody has information," Mumaw said. "If they would just call us."
Anyone with information should call the York Police Department at 684-4141 or CrimeStoppers at York County at 1-877-409-4321.