Police say they have arrested five young juvenile suspects in connection with the murder of a 24-year-old man, who was shot and killed during an attempted robbery outside his home on Thursday afternoon in West Nashville.
According to officials with the Metro Nashville Police, Dept., officers responded to the home on the 3200 block of Torbett Street just before 3 p.m.
The victim, 24-year-old Kyle Yorlets, was shot outside his home but was able to make it back inside where one of his housemates found him, according to Metro police.
Investigators determined the five juvenile suspects were in the alley behind Yorlets’ home when they spotted him outside. The juveniles took his wallet and demanded the keys to his vehicle, according to Metro police.
However, police say, Yorlets was shot after he refused to give his car to the teenagers.
Yorlets was rushed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Yorlets was the lead singer in a local band called Carverton and worked at Milk and Honey in the Gulch.
Police say the suspects, all between 12 and 16 years old, have been charged with criminal homicide in juvenile court.
Police spokesman Don Aaron said all 5 are known to police and to the court system.
“The entire Nashville community, every neighborhood in this city, should be concerned about what happened Thursday and the events of Thursday night,” Aaron said. “A truly innocent man was murdered outside his home. As the investigation progressed we now have 5 juveniles, ranging in age from 12 to 16 who are in custody. We have 2 stolen loaded guns. And we have 2 stolen vehicles they were involved with.”
Other political leaders, including Gov. Bill Lee, has spoken out since the incident about the need to address juvenile crime.
“You know, I think that it’s tragic when we have crime[s] of any kind, and we need to do whatever we can in our state to reduce criminal activity,” Lee told News 2 on Friday. “Juvenile crime, adult crime — anything we can do to create safer neighborhoods in Tennessee, we need to do that.”
Prior to Thursday’s shooting, police say the teens stole a Chevy Equinox from North Nashville with a handgun inside. Police officials were not able to say whether the car doors were unlocked at the time of the theft. Investigators have not done ballistics tests yet to determine if that gun was used in the shooting.
The next day, investigators say a red Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck was stolen from Oak Grove, Kentucky and used as the getaway car after the shooting. It was later recovered in the 1600 block of Timberland Drive in Antioch. A handgun was in that truck, too — and that’s the gun recovered by police inside Walmart where the teens were arrested.
The teens are also accused of stealing a Hyundai Santa Fe around 4:15 p.m. Thursday. Police say the owner of the car left it running at “Little Brothers Shell” gas station when he went inside. They believe the juveniles pulled into the gas station in the pickup. Then one of them jumped in the Hyundai and drove off.
Authorities said witnesses reported three juveniles got out of the truck. Two of them fled in a silver or light blue crossover type car and the third was last seen on foot walking on Mossdale Drive towards Bell Road.
A loaded nine-millimeter pistol, which was reported stolen, was recovered from them outside the Walmart, along with a second loaded and stolen pistol, which was found inside the store, according to Metro police.
Metro police reported a Hyundai Santa Fe, which was stolen from Brentwood, was also recovered from the Walmart parking lot.
Metro police said five juveniles will be charged in Yorlet’s murder after they were taken into custody Thursday night at the Walmart on Charlotte Pike. They have been booked into juvenile detention.
The suspects include three girls, ages 12, 14 and 15, and two boys, ages 13 and 16.
Metro police identified three of the juveniles involved as Diamond Lewis, 15, of Dinwiddie Drive, Roniyah McKnight, 14, of Clifton Avenue, and Decorrius Wright, 16, of Decatur Street.
Under Tennessee law, they can be identified by police because they are charged with homicide and are over the age of 13.
Wright and the 12-year-old girl appeared in juvenile court on Friday.
All five children were considered runaways and were being looked for by Metro Youth Services workers because they are considered suspects in other crimes.
Officials said the 12-year-old girl was reported missing first, and she was connected to the larger group after Snapchats were collected showing pictures of her with the other juveniles and guns.
The group was later connected to the red pickup truck after a TSU dispatcher’s vehicle was stolen from a Zaxby’s parking lot. She immediately called 911, and an officer was able to get the vehicle’s tag number and learned it was stolen from Kentucky.
The first person to testify was Detective Melody Saxon, one of the first responders on the scene after the shooting. Saxon said she interviewed two neighbors after the shooting.
Both neighbors reported seeing the children eating in a neighbor’s backyard before hearing two gunshots. One neighbor also allegedly saw Wright approach Yorlets and point a gun at him before the shooting.
The attorney for the 12-year-old girl said she was just there, and should not face the same charges as the other teens.
An ADA in the courtroom responded, saying, “she is as guilty as they are.”
Right now, all the cases are in juvenile court. However, prosecutors say they are looking to try all five as adults.