Tyler Winstead case: 14-year-old honor student shot dead


A 14-year-old boy is dead, and a gunman remains on the loose, after a deadly shooting in Luzerne County. Tyler Winstead, an 8th grader at Wilkes-Barre G.A.R., was shot while walking home from a youth center in the city. It happened just before 7:30 Thursday night. Investigators say Winstead was gunned down just a couple doors away from his home along the 100 block of Hill Street. That’s where his grandparents raised Tyler and his five siblings. Neighbors who know the family described Tyler as a good kid, whom they called a joy to be around. Tyler Winstead was an avid basketball player, a soulful voice in the church choir, and a regular attendee at Mount Zion Baptist Church, just down the street from his house. On Thursday night, his life was lost to a single bullet– and the gunman whom police are still trying to track down. The news hit home for Manuel Irizarry, of Wilkes-Barre — himself a father of three. Irizarry lamented, “I feel for his parents and his loved ones. It’s a shame that your own child can’t even walk down the street without worrying about getting shot. It’s a shame.” Investigators say Tyler was walking home with a friend after playing basketball behind the Catholic Youth Center on Washington Street. It’s a short walk of about a mile. Tyler was two doors from his house when he was struck by that bullet. The boy walking with him, Elijah, recalled, “I just heard a boom. I look and I see him on the ground. I didn’t know what to do, except call police. I just wish my heart can stop so I can see him and have him just one more, one last time.” It remains unclear at this point whether Tyler was targeted– or if this was just a random act of violence. Irizarry continued, “You do have decent people that live in Wilkes-Barre, and you have those that tend to want to cause problems. It’s just a shame that the boy had to lose his life.” Police canvassed the neighborhood Thursday night in search of evidence and eyewitnesses. They believe the shooter may have taken off in an older model, burgundy-colored Ford Taurus after firing the deadly shot. Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis noted, “It’s devastating when you get a call hearing a 14-year-old was just shot. So, that’s why we’re paying particular attention to this, and we’re going to follow through with every lead that we have.” According to the D.A., Tyler Winstead’s death marks the first criminal homicide by gunfire in Luzerne County this year. Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton said in a statement late Friday morning that the city will exhaust all resources to find the person or people responsible for this tragic crime. Anyone with information should call city police at 826-8106.



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