No charges to be filed in Wheeling Island shooting incident
WHEELING — The person who shot and killed Tyrone Thompson on Wheeling Island in March will not face charges in the incident, Ohio County Prosecuting Attorney Scott Smith announced Monday.
That decision left Thompson’s family, in their words, “hurt” and “let down” by the city.
In a Monday evening news release, Smith said the regularly scheduled Ohio County grand jury convened and, after a full presentation of the evidence, did not vote to return any charges against the gunman.
Thompson, 35, of Wheeling, was shot and killed on South Huron Street on Wheeling Island around 7:30 p.m. March 19. The shooter was not arrested immediately following the incident, and Wheeling police did not release the shooter’s name because they had not been arrested.
Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger had said the shooter was questioned that night and cooperated with authorities. The shooter had claimed self-defense in the incident, which was one of several possible angles detectives had investigated.
The investigation extended into May as WPD was waiting for full autopsy results, including a toxicology report.
Memorials, vigils and protests followed Thompson’s death. A candlelight vigil was held the Monday after the incident.
On March 25, about 50 of Thompson’s friends and family stood across from the City-County Building in Wheeling in a peaceful protest, holding signs asking for justice for Thompson. Later that day, dozens of those protesters filed into Wheeling City Council chambers during a council budget meeting. Following that meeting, they stayed to ask city leaders why the shooter was questioned and released so quickly.
Smith said Monday that members of the Ohio County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as well as a representative of the WPD detective division met with Thompson’s family prior to the grand jury proceeding.
In a statement emailed to The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register on Monday night, Thompson’s mother, Elona Lyle, and sister, Tyrisha Thompson, expressed their frustration and disappointment in the grand jury’s decision.
“The only witness to this case was the shooter, Tyrone didn’t get a chance to tell his side of the story,” they wrote. “How does a man walk away from a situation in which he claims to have been fighting for his life and only have a few superficial scratches? How does a 30-second altercation cause an unarmed man to lose his life due to multiple gunshot wounds?
“Tyrone was a father, a son, a brother, a nephew, an uncle, a cousin, a fiance and a friend to so many,” they continued. “He had a heart of gold and loved everyone. Now the family is left to pick up the pieces with no understanding of why or how this is fair. This state should be ashamed, because this gives off the impression that one can simply be knocked down and have the right to shoot to kill.”
Grand jury proceedings are confidential by law.