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Family of murdered Akron toddler begs for justice

Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 06, 2020

AKRON, Ohio — Wonderous Halsell was dazzled by her grandson, Tyree Halsell, from the moment he was born. She formed a special bond with him and felt he was different than the average baby.

"When he came into the world, it was like he had been here before. He just was so smart and just so attentive and just so alert. He was going to be somebody," she said.

Tyree had learned to walk and had just started talking, but instead of witnessing the toddler's next milestones, Wonderous Halsell and other family members are making plans for his funeral after he was killed during a triple shooting in East Akron.

During an emotional interview with News 5, Halsell said she will miss the wet kisses she received from her grandchild the most.

"I would do anything to feel his kiss on me again and I loved him. I love him and he's going to be dearly missed."

Stuffed animals, balloons, and candles now serve as a makeshift memorial on 5th Avenue where the toddler was shot Sunday evening.

According to police, Tyree's other grandmother, Kimberly Thompson, 47, and Brian James, 48, pulled into the driveway around 9:30 p.m. Moments after they exited a vehicle, there was a hail of gunfire.

Thompson and James both suffered leg injuries and were treated at Summa Akron City Hospital. A bullet hit the 20-month old boy in his head. He died at the same hospital.

Halsell said she was eating dinner in Cleveland with her son-- the boy's father Tyree Halsell Senior-- when he received a phone call informing him of the tragedy.

"I couldn't breath and my son was freaking out," Halsell said "He just kept saying, 'Mom, I just hope this is not real. I can't believe this. I just saw my son.'"

Akron police said bullets were fired from two guns and detectives released pictures of a dark-colored Dodge Ram pickup truck believed to be the getaway vehicle.

Lt. Michael Miller did not list any suspects but said investigators are following leads in the case and remain hopeful they will find Tyree's killer or killers.

In the meantime, Halsell and her cousin, Crystal Garrett, are begging for justice.

"Please, please, please, whoever killed my grandson, have a heart. Repent. Go to God," Halsell said. "Take it to the Lord and turn yourself in."

Garrett said the family is dealing with unimaginable suffering and can't understand why anyone who knows the truth about the killing would stay silent.

"I know you can't sleep at night. I know your intentions that morning were not to wake up and shoot a one-year-old baby," Garrett said.

As she waits for someone to be held accountable for Tyree's death, Halsell said she'll pray for the grandson "who could have been anything" but didn't get the chance.

"We didn't give him a chance to even get up and know what life is all about. He didn't even get to know what life was," she said. "If they don't solve my grandson's murder, I'm not going to rest."

Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest and indictment in the case. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 330-434-COPS.