Father, veteran murdered; no arrests made
NATCHEZ — Tyrone Bernard will be remembered by those who knew him as a man who would give the shirt off his back to help anyone.
“He was caring and giving, and he would do anything for you,” said Bernard’s father, Tommy Walker.
Bernard was killed Wednesday night after he was reportedly ambushed by four men while closing up the liquor store at which he worked.
Natchez Police Department Detective Jerry Ford said four individuals were waiting in the alley beside DD’s Package Store on Martin Luther King Jr. Street for Bernard, 49, 308 1/2 S. Bluebird Drive, while he was closing the store at approximately 10 p.m. When Bernard came outside, Ford said, the suspects rushed him and attempted to rob him.
“He got in a scuffle with one of them, and while that was going on, one of them shot him,” Ford said.
Bernard attempted to leave the scene in his car, Ford said, presumably to get help, but died shortly after getting in his vehicle. Ford said Bernard’s vehicle cruised approximately 40 feet across the street, hitting a nearby building.
Police have not yet identified any suspects in the murder and no arrests had been made as of Thursday evening.
Ford said police do not believe the suspects personally knew Bernard, but he said they may have frequented the store to plan the robbery.
Bernard’s cousin Darlene Taylor, who owns the store, said her cousin’s death makes her nervous about operating the business.
“But I feel like it was probably younger kids who did it, I don’t think they came here to kill him,” she said.
But they were prepared to kill him, Bernard’s cousin Stephanie Jackson added.
“He will be missed, greatly missed,” she said.
Jackson and Taylor and other family members hung a wreath on the door of the store to honor Bernard and gathered outside Thursday to reminisce memories of Bernard.
Bernard was a hard-working man who earned everything he had, Taylor said. He was also a delivery driver for Kimbrell’s Office Supply.
“He liked to work, he was always working,” Bernard’s brother Clyde Bernard said.
Bernard was also a father of three children, a U.S. Air Force veteran, an avid horseback rider and attended Macedonia Baptist Church.
Anyone with any information about the murder should call NPD at 601-445-5565 or Crime Stoppers at 601-442-5000.
Crime Stoppers offers a reward up to $1,000 for a tip leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect. Callers can remain anonymous.
Taylor said she hopes that police catch those responsible for Bernard’s death so no one else is killed.
“It’s not going to bring Tyrone back, but it might help someone else,” she said. “He didn’t deserve this, and whoever did this needs to pay for it.”