Friends remember Tyshon Jones, man fatally shot by RPD at Open Door Mission

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC)- As the community is still grappling with the death of Tyshon Jones, those who knew him are remembering a kind, goofy man that was battling mental illness.

Rochester police officials identified 29-year-old Tyshon Jones at the man killed in an officer-involved shooting Wednesday morning at the Open Door Mission. Police say Jones was a Gates resident, where he lived with his mother.

Cuevas Walker is still dealing with the loss of his friend Tyshon Jones. 

“Very nice very special, he always had a ton of questions, he was always trying to figure out the next step, very nice. he loved Jesus,” said Tyshon Jones., Director of Go Ministries.

29-year-old Tyshon Jones

Walker runs a youth ministry on Clifford Avenue and worked as a chapel at the open-door mission, he says a lot of the conversations with Jones surrounded GOD and the bible. 

“Tyshon called me about 3 and a half weeks ago, and he was talking, and he was telling me how he wanted to do gospel rap, and I said man you can’t rap man,” said Walker.

Jones was only 29 years old. He lived at his parents’ house, and at one point worked at Wegman’s. Walkers says Jones was also battling with mental illness.

“One thing I respected about him was he didn’t deny the condition that he had; he knew what it was about,” said Walker. “When he fell into that condition, it would cause him to think otherwise , you know hallucinate or whatever the case is, but as an overall person he was a good guy, intelligent smart funny guy, when he was on his game.”

Many believe Jones’ mental health played a role in his fatal encounter with police in the early morning hours of Wednesday.

“We have to find a way to ensure we have a comprehensive and effective mental health approach to police calls overall not just in this instance but in any instance that involves mental health,” said Malik Evans, Rochester city council member.

Walker says it’s unfortunate police felt this was the only way to deescalate the situation, and while he understand the officers’ position, he hopes they adopt a non-violent response to people with mental illness.

“So I would tell a lot of folks just from this have compassion on people in general because you never know what got them to that point you never know, a person might have some type of mental illness,” said Walker.

“Tyshon was not some homeless person that died of mental illness at 2.3 in the morning. he was a nice intelligent young man with a goofy and teachable spirit,” said Walker.

Walker hopes to spread mental illness awareness through his youth ministry, he welcomes all he want to get involved or who need help.

When asked if it the Forensic Intervention Team (FIT) or other mental health resources were called, RPD Capt. Mura said the whole event happened too fast — about five or six minutes. The police chief said even if the mental health teams arrived on scene, they likely would’ve been held back because of the present danger of the situation

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