By Sakara Remmu/Special to CHS
Since 2007, Sakara Remmu has been a reporter and commentator covering social and political issues for KBCS Radio, The Seattle Times, and a number of regional and national news print and online outlets. She is the Founder and Managing Editor of BOMBCo; Black Owned Media Broadcasting Company, and Executive Producer of the podcast series Under the Redline, currently featuring the story of the Killing of Tyrone Love.
In the late 2000s, shootings and murders — particularly of young black men — seemed almost common on the streets of Seattle. The Central District murder of Tyrone Love was different.
When the Seattle Police Department confirmed the identity of the man gunned down near 27th and Cherry February 15th, 2009 it was unlike anything most had seen or felt before. A city, across neighborhoods, race, religion, class and age, collectively knocked down, and stunned into disbelief, despair, and anger.
The bullets that killed Love hit his family, friends, his neighborhood, and the city at large. The funeral was standing room only. It was one of the few times the mayor himself, and not a delegate, attended the funeral of a homicide victim, specifically a black man. The mainstream media, quick to report such incidents as gang-related violence, initially did the same with Love’s murder, casting him an unsympathetic victim, blaming assumed yet inaccurate self-created circumstances. As far as the media was concerned, if Love was murdered because of gang affiliation, then in a way he was responsible for his own death; it’s a narrative we see time and time again.
Love was none of the things Seattle typically associates with shootings and murders of black men. He wasn’t a gang member or criminal. He didn’t have a criminal record. At 26, he was part founder and owner of a successful business with friends and business partners Jamar Jones and Bruce Williams. He was the provider for his family, including his mother, sisters, and girlfriend. Love had a seemingly stellar reputation in Seattle, with no known enemies. The night he was murdered, he was doing what he did countless times, going home from work. There was no particular incident leading up to the murder that provide clues about motive, or suspects; he didn’t argue with anyone and was thought to be alone as he walked. He was simply gunned down on the sidewalk, just blocks from his home.
His girlfriend, Margarita Quevedo-Walker, dropped Love off at work the night he was murdered. She was also the one who realized, hours later, that something was wrong. Love had not come home. In an interview with me in 2009, she recalled waking up around 4:30 in the morning and realizing his side of the bed was empty. She sent out texts to those closest to him, who sent out texts to their networks. No one knew where Love was. By 9:00 AM, the unimaginable was at the front door. Continue reading