Blaine Tyler was shot in the chest and killed last week by Toby Smith, Jr., both of Richmond, VA. Tyler has just stopped for gas and was open-carrying his pistol when he headed inside to pay. Smith and another yoot, Tyee Marquel Hamiel, followed him inside and snatched the gun from Tyler’s holster. And that’s when Tyler made his fatal mistake…
Tyler, 48, had a concealed-carry permit, but his handgun was plainly visible that night in his holster, Johnson said.
“The suspects walk in and one immediately reached for Mr. Tyler’s gun,” Johnson said. Tyler did not draw his weapon.
According to court papers, Smith took Tyler’s gun during a struggle and shot Tyler in the chest after the victim chased Smith inside the store.
Smith went on to use Tyler’s gun seven hours later to kill another robbery victim while he sat in his car. The poor misunderstood lad had something of a history of unfortunate scrapes with authority.
Smith, who was arrested Monday and charged in last week’s two killings, was convicted in 2010 of malicious wounding, grand larceny and burglary, according to court papers filed in Richmond Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
But Toby was a juvenile, and as Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andy Johnson told timesdispatch.com,
…it is rare in Richmond for a juvenile to be sent to detention after his or her case is adjudicated. Our goal is to try to get through to these kids before they become adults so we don’t automatically lock them up every time they do something wrong,” he said.
Somehow the state failed to get through to young Toby. Perhaps a young man who commits malicious wounding, grand larceny and burglary requires more than a stern talking to. Just a thought.
Sure, Tyler might have used a retention holster to keep his gun from being grabbed in the first place. Especially if he planned to open carry. But as a general rule, chasing the little scumbag to who just stole your heater is never a good idea. Given that he’s now armed and you’re not, the the potential outcomes aren’t in your favor.
It’s tragic Tyler paid for it with his life. The same for the second victim. Here’s hoping Assistant Attorney Johnson will be able to successfully argue that Smith be tried as an adult this time.