Despite the sweltering heat, Tabyis Paskins and a friend hopped on their bikes early Wednesday to go play video games at an acquaintance’s house in Minneapolis. But they never made it.
After an argument erupted between the two men and a group of people outside a nearby home, Paskins, 19, was shot several times as he tried to pedal away to safety, witnesses told police. He died shortly afterward at North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.
It was the city’s 18th homicide of the year.
A few hours after the shooting, several of Paskins’ friends and relatives gathered at a grassy area a few blocks away from where he was shot to pay their respects. They stood in a circle around longtime peace activist K.G. Wilson under a beating sun, holding hands for a moment of prayer while gospel music blared from a car radio. Several people leaned over to wipe sweat and tears from the face of Paskins’ mother, who sat slumped in a lawn chair.
“He was a good person,” said his brother, Washington Griffin, 24. “He had a big heart; that’s why when they told me that his heart had stopped, I said, ‘Damn.’ ”
Griffin said that their mother, who moved the family from Peoria, Ill. to the North Side several years ago, had raised him and his siblings to be respectful, while constantly stressing staying out of trouble and focusing on their education. Griffin said his brother resisted the lure of the streets, and instead spent most of his time taking care of his paraplegic grandmother.
Others remembered him as a loving and determined young man who was unfailingly loyal to his friends.
“Even though we didn’t come from the same mother, that’s my brother,” said Chris Hogan, 18, as he consoled Paskins’ sister.
Marvin Robinson, 19, nodded, adding that “T-Marley,” as he was known to friends, loved riding his bike and playing basketball with friends.
Joel Smith, 36, said Paskins and his friend were biking to his house, in the 2500 block of Logan Avenue N., where the three of them had spent the past few mornings playing video games.
“He was waiting on me to get home,” said Smith, who runs a drywall business. He said he grew worried when he didn’t hear from either of them.
He said that the shooting was just the latest violent episode on the block, pointing out the two bullets still lodged in the side of his home.
“I hate to say this, but now I just say, stay down,” he said, adding that the near-constant sound of gunfire moved him to sell his house. “That’s pretty embarrassing to tell company.”
The argument that ended in Paskins’ death started outside a modest yellow-brick house in the 1800 block of Hillside Avenue N., where police found at least one spent shell casing, according to dispatchers. Witnesses said that four people — two men and two women — were chasing Paskins and his friend in a red SUV moments before shots rang out. The department’s ShotSpotter network picked up five rounds in the area around that time.
Police spokeswoman Sgt. Catherine Michal said detectives are pursuing several leads and have spoken with a number of witnesses. No one has been arrested.
A neighbor who saw part of the shooting near the corner of 25th and Logan avenues N. said a red Jeep was traveling north about 7:30 a.m. when someone in the back seat “let off” a handful of shots before the vehicle sped off in the direction of Morgan Avenue N.
“I actually thought they were shooting in the air, but then they accelerated real fast,” said the 47-year-old man, who didn’t want to reveal his name for fear of retribution.
The two men made it another block, to the corner of 26th and Logan avenues N., where Paskins collapsed, according to scanner reports and witnesses.
Witnesses said that a construction worker working nearby ran to the intersection and tried to revive Paskins, who was taken by ambulance to North Memorial, where he died.