Police say a former Wildcats basketball player was shot and killed in a suburban Utah neighborhood Sunday morning.
Toussaint "TJ" Tyler moved to Utah to be near his young daughter, friends said. He was the Wildcats guard in 2009-2010 and in 2011-2012. Prior to joining Central Washington's team, Tyler played for Tacoma Community College under Coach Carl Howell's leadership.
"He was our captain," Howell said. "He's one of those guys that won every step of the way. To really be able to coach these guys, they gotta know you love them and care about them. I think that was definitely the case with [Tyler]."
According to the Unified Police Department in Taylorsville, surveillance video captured an image of a woman in a hooded sweatshirt knocking on the door of an apartment on West Sunny Road Sunday morning. Once the door was open, two suspects came out of hiding and forced their way inside, detectives said.
Tyler was shot at least once. The 30-year-old was taken to the hospital in critical condition but did not survive his injuries, according to police.
Police are looking for both suspects, who ran from the scene. The motive behind the incident has not been released.
Back home, the people who knew Tyler want answers.
"I think everybody just wants to know what happened," Howell said. "They must have caught him off guard or something because he's not somebody you want to mess with in that way."
Detectives said several other people were home at the time of the shooting but did not offer details. It's unclear whether they knew two suspects were inside the home.
Tyler has deep ties to the Kent area where he helped Kentwood High School win a state championship. His father, Toussaint "TNT" Tyler, is a former Husky who also used to play for the New Orleans Saints.
Currant Singleton grew up with Tyler and attended high school with him.
"He was a great friend, a great brother and an amazing father," he said. "He left his home base and went to Utah to take care of his daughter."
Singleton has set up a GoFundMe account to support Tyler's daughter.
In a tweet, CWU said, "It is with deep sadness that we inform you on the loss of Toussaint “TJ” Tyler. Condolences to his family. Rest In Peace. #33"
Before Rjay Barsh became the head coach of a D2 school in Central Florida, he also coached TJ at TCC.
"Two things I will always remember about Toussaint (are) his contagious smile and how hard he played," Barsh said. "He was relentless as a basketball player and off the court he was very loyal. I coach with a little bit of TJ's swagger every night."