On Monday, community members in Glen Burnie, Md., gathered to remember Tyrique Hudson, who police say was killed by a shotgun blast fired by his neighbor on April 15. But the story becomes even more tragic once you learn that Hudson was denied a protective order against the suspect.
The Capital Gazette reports that police responded to a call for shots fired, and upon their arrival found Hudson dead from gunshot wounds to the chest in the stairwell of his Colonial Square apartment.
The suspect, 53-year-old James Verombeck, who was also Hudson’s downstairs neighbor, held off police for four hours before he was apprehended and charged with Hudson’s murder.
“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 those in attendance at Hudson’s vigil.
“This is our chance as a community to raise our voices and say we are done being silent, stop gun violence now,” Bishop Charles Carroll Sr. said to the crowd. In 2016, he lost his son to gun violence. “The system is broke and has to be fixed. All people in this county have to be treated fair.”
“I just want to say something about race and about guns,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said, wearing a T-shirt honoring Hudson’s memory. “We know the man who shot Tyrique should not have had a gun. We have to get guns out of the hand of bad people [...] But when your child is a black man, a young African-American man, the world is a dangerous place. I am sure Tyrique’s parents were well aware of that I am sure they were scared. And their worst fear came true.”
By all accounts, Hudson had tremendous potential. He completed a five-year early college program in only four years and earned a degree in computer science at North Carolina A&T University in only 2 1/2 years.
After attending a college job fair, he was hired as a software engineer by aerospace and defense technology company Northrup Grunman, and in less than a year was well on his way to a earning a second promotion.
“I keep repeating I want my baby. I just want my son,” his mother Tonya Burch told WJZ 13. “I want my baby.”
With his life on such an upward trajectory, Hudson moved out of the apartment he shared with his mother and settled into his own place. But the behavior of his downstairs neighbor alarmed him—so much so that he sought a protective order. But tragically, it was denied by Judge Devy Patterson Russell on the basis that it did not meet the required burden of proof.
In the aftermath of Hudson’s death, Russell has faced growing calls for her dismissal. Family and friends of Hudson launched an online petition demanding an investigation into Russell, who’s presiding over Anne Arundel County on temporary assignment in light of allegations of misconduct.
But Russell’s decision to deny the protective order looks even more egregious after a preliminary hearing revealed that Verombeck suffers from schizophrenia.
“I have a bunch of children myself and grandchildren who are getting older now and just seeing these young lives getting taken away just way too soon just makes you weep,” said David Bond, a neighbor in Hudson’s apartment complex.
Sadly, the community has no choice but to move forward as they continue searching for answers.
“All I can say is that I am sorry. Anne Arundel County did not protect their baby,” Pittman said. “ We failed him and we failed his parents. I can’t explain why.”