gun violence

Homicide Victim's Mom Questions Police Policy Denying Her Access to His Body

Police did not let Tyriek Powell’s mother say goodbye to her son when he was taken to the hospital.

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The family of Tyriek Powell went to the police station in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Tuesday to watch body camera video of efforts to save the 20-year- old's life after he was shot earlier this month

Seeing police perform CPR brought no peace.

“I’m really just like, a burning hole is inside of me without my son,” Tiffany Thurston, Powell’s mother, said.

Powell’s mother is raising a series of concerns in the wake of her son’s death. The family gathered first in the parking lot where “Rico,” as they called him, was killed.

Tape still marks one spot where bullets tore through a store window in what became an exchange of gunfire in the middle of the afternoon.

Arturo Barnes, 28, is now jailed, facing a second-degree murder charge.

Thurston said the loss of her son hurts all the more because at the hospital that day, police refused her request to see Powell, to say goodbye.

“I asked them could I please see my son, and they told me, they said no, he’s going to the medical examiner’s office, and I wanted to hold onto my son before he was taken down to the medical examiners and I was treated so unfairly,” Thurston said.

Police told News4 they understand and sympathize but say requires them to treat a victim’s body as evidence until after an autopsy. 

“Law enforcement is looking through the lens of finding out what exactly happened, gathering as much evidence in order to bring justice to person who just lost their life,” Fredericksburg police spokeswoman Sarah Kirkpatrick said.

Thurston is dismayed, too, with the time it took to get her son to the hospital. Police did CPR right away.

Fire & EMS crews got the call around 2:50 p.m. They arrived at 2:55 p.m. but didn’t head to the hospital for 16 minutes.

Police and the victim’s family are in agreement on this — there are witnesses, including acquaintances of both victim and accused killer, that are withholding valuable information.

“I feel if someone really cares about my son Tyriek and they said that they his friend, or his brother, and they said they loved him, then they will come forward no matter what,” Thurston said.

Police said they consider the case an active investigation and they will be working to see what caused the deadly fire that day.

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