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The 2009 murder of beloved Seattle community leader Tyrone Love remains unsolved

Tyrone Love was fatally shot in Seattle's Central District. Investigators are still trying to figure out why.

SEATTLE — The name Tyrone Love is known by many in the greater Seattle community. He was a brother, son, young leader, worked at YMCA and was a club promoter. 

He was murdered in 2009 and to this day, his case remains unsolved.  

The Unsolved Northwest team spoke with his sisters and mentor who are hoping someone will come forward with information to solve this case.  

All of Tyrone's sisters remember him as optimistic, well-liked and motivated.

"Tyrone was very funny and ambitious," said Gwendolyn Love, Tyrone's sister. "He was really into music. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body. Everybody got along with him. You knew him and was cool with him.

KING 5 archival video from 2009 echoes the same sentiment. At the time of his death, it was reported that he was a big brother to a lot of people, especially younger kids who didn't have a role model.

Credit: KING 5
KING 5 archival photo of Tyrone Love

'Whoever killed him meant to kill him'

The shooting happened on Feb. 15, 2009. It was Presidents' Day weekend. 

Earlier that night, Love was at a club he was hired to promote in Pioneer Square. He left the club and according to his sisters, he went to the convenience store before walking home in the early morning hours. He never made it home.  

Chukundi Salisbury was one of Tyrone's closest friends. 

"What I liked about him is that he seemed to be able to show up as his authentic self," Salisbury said.

Salisbury remembered on that Sunday night in 2009, the party they were promoting was the place to be. Then when the night started to turn to morning, he said goodbye to Tyrone and headed home.

"I remember looking at my phone, getting texts in the morning and my friend Jamar had texted me and said 'Hey,' because I believe Tyrone's girlfriend at the time had texted him, 'Tyrone didn't make it home,' and I was getting calls 'Anybody heard from Tyrone?'"

Gwendolyn Love remembers waking up to text messages from friends saying someone was shot in the neighborhood. At this point, she did not know it was her brother.

"A little bit later I remember hearing my mother wail," Gwendolyn Love said. "Knock at the door first and then I heard my mother scream. I see a gentleman with a clipboard trying to get an understanding of what’s going on. Seeing my mother and getting that text message I put two and two together."

Credit: Tyrone Love's family
Tyrone Love and family

"I think the hardest part was knowing how much pain my mother and sister were in and that I couldn’t really do anything to take that pain from them," said Christyna Bradford, Tyrone's youngest sister.

"Having to experience that firsthand is like having your soul ripped from you," Gwendolyn Love said. "It is like nothing I’ve ever felt before in my life."

A witness to the crime said a man pulled up in a car at Cherry and 27th Street, got out and shot Tyrone Love several times. The man then ran back to the car and sped off. The autopsy report revealed more details.  

"I remember there were at least 11 contact hits," Bradford said. "Reading it was so painful because you are not blindly firing if someone gets hit even more than once you know that’s intentional."  

"We really don't know why Tyrone was murdered, but we obviously know he was murdered and we know it was done with intent," Salisbury said. "It wasn't a stray bullet. It wasn't, you know, so whoever killed him meant to kill him."

Could Tyrone's death be connected to a murder that happened three months earlier?

Three months before Tyrone Love was killed someone was murdered at a party he was promoting. People close to this case believe the two murders may be connected.  

"He was actually outside when it happened and when he heard the gunshots he felt responsible so he went into the establishment to see what was going on and a gentleman was shot and he was deceased and he waited around for the police and he assisted with whatever they needed in that case in that regard," Gwendolyn said. 

"Where do you even begin, how do you know who to go, who has a grudge against him that could go to that extent to remove somebody?" Bradford asked. "There are so many different things that are unknown that make it harder because of him being a good person."

A Seattle Police Department spokesperson told the Unsolved team that this case is still active.

"When this happened, there was certainly support from victim advocates. The advocates involved have since left the department," the spokesperson said. "With the case being 14 years old, as you can imagine, we lack the staffing to actively continue to reach out to victims on every unsolved case. We do respond if family members have questions or concerns or are in need of services for support."

Family, friends, community continue to honor Tyrone's legacy

After Tyrone Love was murdered family and friends attended a funeral at Madrona Presbyterian. It was standing room only. 

"It was so amazing to see how he touched so many people’s lives," Bradford said. "The mayor came down and spoke at an event. It was so packed and so filled with love. The neighborhood raised money so funeral costs could be paid."  

Since his death, Tyrone Love continues to impact people through the Tyrone Love Scholarship for Community Service and Engagement. The scholarship seeks to help African American students who have a demonstrated track record of community service, pursue their dreams of higher education and is presented by 100 Black Parents.

His sisters said it's a satisfying feeling being able to help people, even after their brother is gone.

Credit: Tyrone Love's family
Tyrone Love

Anyone who knows anything about this case is urged to call the Seattle Police Department.

Do you want to hear more about Unsolved Northwest? Text the word UNSOLVED to (206) 448-4545 to get messages from the team about the latest cases and updates on past stories, or to send them your questions. 

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