A Sand Creek High School junior died March 16 from a gunshot wound to the head, according to the mother of Tyrese Gayle, 17. Gayle was at a friend’s house near Airport and Murray in the early morning hours when the shooting happened, Gayle’s mother told News 5. "I just got a phone call around 1:00 in the morning saying that my son had shot himself," said Mia Gayle.
Mia Gayle says she is skeptical that her son’s wound was self-inflicted. "I don’t believe my son done that to himself," Gayle said. "I believe that someone done that to him." Colorado Springs Police told News 5 the initial investigation into Tyrese Gayle’s death determined the gunshot was self-inflicted, although it wasn’t clear whether the shot was intentional or accidental. CSPD says it it still investigating the incident, but it doesn’t appear to be criminal. Autopsy results from the El Paso County Coroner’s examination could take 6 to 8 weeks.
Mia Gayle says social media chatter makes her question the circumstances of the deadly event. "Several stories: basically that he shot himself, other stories from kids on social media that someone shot him. I’m not sure," she said.
Gayle says she frequently instructed Tyrese about the dangers of guns. "I’m not saying as a 17-year-old teenager they’re not capable of getting guns. I have never known him to have one or even carry one, but I’m not a mother who’s in denial about situations like that," Gayle said. "If you have guns, lock them up so they don’t get to them. Check backpacks, whatever you have to do."
Mia Gayle is urging anyone who has additional information about her son’s death to come forward to her or police. A candlelight vigil and balloon-release in Tyrese’s honor was held Saturday night.
“Tyrese made a lasting impact on both students and staff alike,” shared Audra Lane, campus director at Sand Creek High School. “His presence and amazing smile will be missed greatly.”
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Tyrese’s family cover funeral costs.