Friends and family in Baltimore are mourning the death of Tyrique Hudson, a 22-year-old software engineer who was gunned down by his white neighbour while leaving for work this month.
Hudson, who had just earned a computer science degree at North Carolina A&T University, had moved to his apartment complex outside of Baltimore to start his software engineer job at Northrop Grumman.
The 22-year-old had tried to obtain a protective order against his 53-year-old white neighbour this February after the two had a confrontation, but a judge denied his request on claims that he did not provide enough proof, CBS Baltimore reported.
On April 15, Hudson was shot and killed in front of two witnesses in the stairwell of the complex while leaving for work. The neighbour, 53-year-old James Verombeck, has been charged with first-degree murder.
Hudson’s family are currently seeking answers to the death of their son, which has made headlines. His mother, Tonya Burch, said the 22-year-old had begun a promising career and had just found a new apartment to move into when the incident happened.
“He was getting his mind set to move because he was fearful,” Burch said.
“He’s never had any confrontations or any fights.
“Nobody has ever had to come say, ‘Oh your son did this to me or your son did that to me.’ He was just overall a very gifted, unique child.”
After the shooting, the suspect, who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia, locked himself inside his apartment for 10 hours until a SWAT team broke down the door and detained him, reported the Capital Gazette.
In his request for legal protection this February, Hudson described his first encounter with Verombeck. He said around 10 a.m. February 16, he was taking his trash out and stepped into the hallway, where he was met by Verombeck.
“You knew this day was coming,” Verombeck told him, according to Hudson’s account as reported by the Sun. “You know what you did.”
Verombeck then drew his hands across his neck, making a “throat-slitting gesture,” Hudson said.
Hudson subsequently proceeded to court, where Verombeck told the judge, Devy Patterson Russell that he believed Hudson was videotaping him in his home.
“He’s not recording you,” Russell told him. “He’s not videotaping you, OK? He’s not watching what you are doing. Do you understand?”
When Hudson tried to get a court order barring Verombeck from making physical or verbal contact, Judge Russell denied his request, saying that what he is asking for required a pattern of behaviour instead of a single incident.
Many have since criticized Russell for denying Hudson’s request for a protective order. At the moment, she has been temporarily reassigned while the Maryland Court of Appeals decides if she will be suspended, CBS Baltimore reported.
“I feel like they’ve failed my son,” Burch told CBS Baltimore. “They failed me. He had a bright and promising future.”
“I am tired, we are tired of our young men and women falling to the hands of those who turn to gun violence,” Apostle Larry Lee Thomas, Sr., president of the United Black Clergy and pastor of Empowering Believers Church of the Apostolic Faith, told residents who attended Hudson’s vigil earlier this week.
Hudson’s family have, meanwhile, begun preparations towards his funeral which will be held Saturday, April 27.