Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tyler J. Binsted

Tyler J. Binsted, a 19-year-old student at Virginia Commonwealth University was found shot to death March 27, 2008 morning in Byrd Park.

Police responded to reports of a shooting in the 600 block of South Sheppard Street. They found Binsted, a student from Mount Jackson in Shenandoah Valley, who had been shot in the back after a robbery near the Byrd Park tennis courts.

Binsted, a sophomore sculpture major at VCU, was walking in the park with his 21-year-old girlfriend when they were approached by two males, one armed with a gun. It was sometime after midnight. Hours earlier, they'd played tennis near this same spot.

Binsted and his girlfriend were robbed of their car keys. They were standing there when the robbers told them to get in the trunk. Binsted put his hand on the lid and closed it shut. He said, "We're not doing that," as reported by his girlfriend.

In the thin light of night near the tennis courts, the stand-off seemed to dissipate. The couple already had given up all they had, she said.

"We thought it was over with," Binsted's girlfriend said. They started to walk away, then broke into a run.

But a shot rang out and Binsted fell to the ground.

Binsted's girlfriend tried to flag down a car to help her dying friend, a frightening new chapter evolved.

The assailants had driven off in her car after the shooting; then her car loomed into view again and a male with a gun suddenly approached her. "I think they had come back to kill me," she said.

She ran to the rear of a second car she had stopped seconds earlier, grabbed at the back door and jumped in.

She had escaped. But the driver refused to help other than to take her away. His cell phone didn't work, he said.

She got out at Cary Street and Boulevard and ran west on Cary. A man whose name she doesn't know let her use his cell phone. Moments later, she watched an ambulance pass her on Cary, headed to Binsted.

The suspects fled in Binsted's car, a navy blue Honda Accord, with Virginia license plate PHA 787. Police described the suspects as black males, between 14 and 17 years old, who were last seen driving toward South Richmond by the Boulevard Bridge.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 3/27/2008 and 3/28/2008.



The Richmond Police have in custody one of the suspects, Howard Reed Scott III, 17, of the 1500 block of Silver Avenue in South Richmond off Jefferson Davis Avenue. The second suspect is a juvenile.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 3/29/2008.



A funeral for Binsted is scheduled Monday, March 31, 2008, near his hometown of Mount Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. His twin brother is flying home from studies in Europe. An older sister is flying home from out West.

His father, Thomas Binsted, a Marine and formerly a logger and ranch hand in Montana, said yesterday he is trying to understand how such a thing could happen to a family that sought the quiet and stillness of the Shenandoah Valley.

The family has asked that contributions be made to the SPCA in Woodstock or to the music department of Stonewall Jackson High School. There will be a memorial service Sunday at the school, where Binsted was a soccer star, highly regarded student and violin virtuoso.

The funeral Monday at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Jerome begins at 11 a.m., with burial to follow in the church graveyard.

Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 3/29/2008.

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