North Minneapolis shooting victim was local activist, entrepreneur

A blowing April snowstorm didn’t stop a man from being gunned down as he walked outside his mother’s home Tuesday in north Minneapolis. 

Activists VJ Smith and Kay G Wilson shared the grief of losing their friend and fellow activist Tyrone Rashad Williams.

“This young man was one of the last brothers that I would think would be killed by gun violence,” Smith said.

“You have so many that are active in gangs and different stuff like that in the community, this type of stuff usually comes to them," Wilson added. "But this young man, like VJ said, a leader doing positive things in the community, this was a young man who was a freedom fighter." 

Investigators say Williams collapsed on the sidewalk and that’s where police and medical crews found him and tried to save him. On a north Minneapolis daily news Facebook page, the community wrote that they knew him for his work in the Black Lives Matter movement. But, he was also known as an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. 

“He believed we should all have our own businesses and not rely on other people,” Smith said.

Smith and Wilson are heartbroken, saying the community lost one of the good guys, and they want justice for Tyrone, his family and for everyone on the north side.

“This is heartbreaking, and we want justice," Smith said. "Somebody [saw] something, somebody knows something and all we’re asking is for you to speak up and make sure that this family gets closure." 

“There’s not a whole lot of us that they have to look up to as leaders in positivity, so the ones that we have, we need them to stay here,” Wilson said.

Wednesday afternoon, people from all walks of life—from different cultures and religions—gathered together to remember Williams. 

“[He wasn’t] just another black man—this is a community member who fought in all communities across all color lines,” his sister Raeisha Williams said. 

Raeisha said Tyrone had just finished reading Dr. Seuss to his four young children at their mother’s home. He left the house and walked to his car to go to work. His sister and mother heard gunshots, then Raeisha ran out to her brother—who was dying on the sidewalk. 

“I went down to him and he was looking up to me and I said, ‘Tyrone, your kids are waiting inside for you—they are all waiting for you’ and he kept trying to stand up and talk to me… and his eyes were rolling in the back of his head,” Raeisha said.