This article was originally published on GoErie.com by Tim Hahn on July 11, 2017
A 19-year-old Erie man killed by gunfire in an eastside neighborhood on June 19 died of suicide, Erie police said Tuesday.
The ruling on the death of Tyrique Tate, which was initially listed as a homicide following Tate’s June 21 autopsy, was changed to suicide by the Erie County Coroner’s Office after Erie police collected and presented additional evidence in the probe, Police Chief Donald Dacus said Tuesday morning.
That evidence included a hooded sweatshirt that Tate was wearing, which had contact gunshot evidence on it, Coroner Lyell Cook said. Tate was wearing the sweatshirt, and had the hood up, when he suffered a gunshot wound to the head, Cook said.
The Coroner’s Office did not have the hooded sweatshirt at the time of the autopsy, Cook added.
Police have determined that Tate fired all of the gunshots from inside a vehicle during the incident in the 600 block of East 24th Street, Dacus said. The shots struck a 19-year-old man sitting in the vehicle in the head, struck a 16-year-old boy standing outside of the vehicle in the face, and struck Tate in the head, according to police.
Dacus said detectives collected statements from all of the occupants of the vehicle and from people standing outside of it. All gave consistent statements that Tate turned the gun on himself, the chief said.
Police additionally collected evidence from Tate’s cellphone that indicated the shooting was a suicide, Dacus added.
Investigators said shortly after Tate’s death was ruled a homicide that detectives were still investigating all possibilities in the death. Dacus said during an interview on June 30 that the detectives were examining “circumstances and evidence” further, as Tate’s death was “not a clear-cut homicide investigation at this point.”
Investigators said Tate fired the shots after climbing into a Kia Forte rental, occupied by three other people, after it pulled into the 600 block of East 24th Street on the afternoon of June 19. The driver of the car, who was not wounded, ran off, and another person jumped into the car and drove Tate and the other 19-year-old shooting victim to Saint Vincent Health Center. The 16-year-old shooting victim was taken by EmergyCare to UPMC Hamot for treatment.
There have been nine homicides in Erie County, and six in Erie, so far in 2017.
Tim Hahn can be reached at 870-1731 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNhahn.