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Family looking for truth, transparency after loved one shot by Independence police

Tyrea Pryor was shot and killed after a car crash
Tyrea Pryor family
Posted at 5:52 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 18:55:59-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For four days, Tyrea Pryor's family said they've been in the dark with few details about his death.

"It's just been confusion about what's going on, and we just want to know what happened to our loved one," Nigel Johnson, Pryor's brother-in-law, said.

Little is known about what happened Friday night when two Independence Police Department officers opened fire on Pryor.

We know someone called Independence police saying three to four people were banging on her door. This was at a house in the 800 block of West College Street. Police say they were arriving as Pryor drove off.

Minutes later, around 8pm, police say he crashed in the intersection of 24 Highway and Noland Road.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is now investigating the shooting.

An employee at a nearby business told KSHB I-Team reporter Sarah Plake that Pryor crashed into a pole in the northeast corner of the intersection. On Tuesday, crews were working to repair a pole in that spot.

The employee said the business has surveillance footage that they turned over to police. He watched it and said it couldn't have been two minutes from the time Pryor's car crashed to when police arrived on the scene and shot him.

"No one's said anything about him being any kind of aggressor or doing anything to justify anything that happened that day," Johnson said.

Tyrea Pryor family
Tyrea Pryor's family wants to know what happened when two Independence police officers shot him on March 11.

Police said two other people were in the car with Pryor and Pryor had a rifle. Other than that, police aren't releasing any other information right now.

Considering the many other instances of officer-involved shootings, specifically involving Black men, Pryor's family said they want to have faith in the system.

"We want to know whoever is in the wrong here that we're going to find out and we can be comfortable in knowing that, you know, things are treated properly," Johnson said.

Crystal Leggs, Pryor's sister, said these shootings are happening too often.

"Y'all are not going to keep doing this. It's not going to get swept under the rug. We're not going to sleep until we know exactly what happened," Leggs said.

In the meantime, they reminisce about all the good times. That's what hurts the most for Pryor's oldest sister, Marchelle.

"We shared a lot of intimate conversations. Just about life, just about stuff he had going on, stuff I had going on," Marchelle said. "Man, I miss my dog. It's crazy."

Pryor loved to barbecue, spend time with his three kids and be involved in his community.

"One thing I always noticed about him that stood out, that was different than probably everybody else, is that he would see a stranger and instead of looking away he'd say, 'How you doing black man,' 'Lift your head black man,'" Johnson said. "And when I heard that, it changed me. It was something special about that and I'll never forget that."

Taylor Bozeman, Pryor's niece, said above all, he loved making people laugh and being there when it counted,

"He came through for his family every time. No matter nothing he had going on, it was family first," Bozeman said.

"And he loved his kids," Leggs said. "No matter what he was going through, he loved his kids."

The family said other than the devastation of losing Pryor, the craziest part about this story is that Pryor's son was recently honored by the Independence Police Department for helping an elderly lady in a grocery store parking lot in the pouring rain.

"It was just two years ago that the Independence police department was honoring his son, just honored his son for his act of service, with the same name, and two years later killed his dad," Johnson said.

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