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Updated: Shooting kills two, wounds one at home of Tru Colors executive off of Middle Sound Loop

On the morning of Saturday, July 24, two people were killed and one injured in a shooting at the house of Tru Colors COO George Taylor III.
Benjamin Schachtman
On the morning of Saturday, July 24, two people were killed and one injured in a shooting at the house of Tru Colors COO George Taylor III.

Update: On Sunday evening, Tru Colors founder George Taylor posted a statement concerning the shooting. Taylor grieved, saying "I lost a friend to violence," sharing some thoughts from his son — at whose house the fatal shooting took place — and asking the press and public to "show our team a little grace and reach out to gain understanding before drawing conclusions." The full statement is available at the end of this article.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office received a call shortly before dawn on Saturday morning and arrived at the home of George Taylor III, chief operations officer for Tru Colors, and the son of the company's founder, George Taylor.

According to NHCSO spokesperson Lt. Jerry Brewer, deputies responded to a 5:40 a.m. call, which came from a female victim reporting gunfire from inside the residence located in the upscale Providence subdivision off of Middle Sound Loop Road.

Inside the residence, two people were found dead from gunshot wounds and one was taken to the hospital for gunshot injuries — that person's condition is unknown. According to Brewer the homeowner, Taylor, was not injured in the shooting. NHCSO does not currently believe that robbery was the motive for killings. Law enforcement didn't officially comment, but there did not appear to have been a break-in, indicating the doors may have been unlocked.

By noon, there was still heavy law enforcement present around Taylor's home on Providence Road, off of Middle Sound Loop, including deputies, CSI techs, and District Attorney Ben David, who was inside the house. Traffic into the neighborhood was being monitored by deputies.

The entrance to the Providence neighborhood off of Middle Sound Loop Road.
Benjamin Schachtman
The entrance to the Providence neighborhood off of Middle Sound Loop Road.

No arrests or suspects have been announced yet. Officials said they believed this was an isolated incident, and that other residents in the area were not in danger.

According to NHCSO, "the female victim was transported to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. Deputies also located two people who were deceased from gunshot wounds inside the home. The two deceased victims have been identified as Koredreese Robert Tyson, a 29-year-old black male and validated gang member, and Bri-Yanna Emily Williams a 21-year-old black female."

[Editor's note: 'Gang validation' is the process by which law enforcement agencies identify likely gang members, based on a variety of criteria; it is not a criminal conviction. Some have criticized gang validation as violating due process since there is not a simple judicial appeal procedure for people who are not in gangs or who have since left gangs; others have called the criteria too broad or too vague — and note that being in a gang is not, under most circumstances, in and of itself illegal.]

Tyson was arrested in 2019 for a shooting at a Red Cross Street property owned by the Tru Colors founder, who denied Tyson was an employee. A decade earlier, the Wilmington Police Department claimed Tyson was a member of the Folk Nation Gangster Disciples (a.k.a. 'Growth and Development,' one of the gangs from which Tru Colors hires).

Geroge Taylor III works with his brother and father at Tru Colors, a for-profit brewery that seeks out and employs active gang members — often from rival gangs — in the hopes of changing gang culture and reducing violence (although the senior Taylor has said explicitly his first goal is to "sell beer").

Related, from Port City Daily: Tru Colors’ George Taylor talks goals and challenges, new brewery and redefining gang life

Tru Colors has been successful, recently moving into a large facility on Greenfield Street in Wilmington’s Southside, and inking a deal with Molson Coors. The company has also faced challenges, including the arrest of several employees. However, in a 2018 interview with then-Port City Daily reporters Ben Schachtman and Michael Praats, the senior Taylor played down concerns over gang members bringing their "beef into the office" and, asked if he ever feared for his own safety, said "I have relationships with gang members at very high levels in the national level so we don't have concerns like that."

Below full comment from Tru Colors CEO George Taylor.

Yesterday I lost a friend to violence. It’s unfortunately not the first time I’ve lost someone I cared about to violence, and each subsequent loss has weighed heavier as I see so much potential in these young men and women lost forever.

Our whole team knows this, both affiliated and not. These incredible and selfless people are dedicated to driving peace on our city’s streets. And to that end, they have undoubtedly saved countless lives.

But I don’t know if we ever get to zero. You see, violence comes from exclusion and a lack of opportunity, and so until all of us can come together and prioritize grace and understanding over blame and divisiveness, it will never go to zero. For peace to happen, it takes the whole city uniting and committing to change.

I have never spoken publicly about the pain that comes with losing members of the TRU Colors family— both team members and friends. And by speaking out this time I want to be clear that the others lost before were every bit as tragic, and I will never forget any of them. I just have reached a point, and TRU Colors has reached a point, where I think others need to begin to understand.

Yesterday morning, around 5am while everyone was sleeping, a gunman entered my son’s house and killed Korry and Bri-yanna. And another young woman was seriously injured. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you much about Bri-yanna, as I didn’t have the privilege of knowing her. But I do know that she was a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. It is tragic that she and so many others have lost their lives like this, and it is something that should anger everyone in our city.

Unlike Bri-yanna, I did know Korry well. Very well. And while he had a past, he had since committed his life to peace and lifting his friends and community. Korry was a friend, a leader at TRU Colors, and a critical person in saving lives on our streets. I could try to describe Korry, but instead I’ll share this excerpt from a post my son made to the company last night…

I have no words for a moment like this. Having stared at this screen for hours now trying to keep it together, all I can think is that I wish more people had a chance to know the Korry I knew. Some people were aware, many were not, but Korry has lived at my home for the past few months as he tried to find a place that would accept someone with a felony background.

I had the privilege of getting to know Korry better than most. Like many in this company, the life he lived was clearly filled with tragedy, pain, and loss beyond most people’s comprehension. I saw the ups and the downs, the stress and the pressure. Yet somehow, he could always put a smile on and bring energy to every conversation. While we did not always see eye to eye (the team knows how often we fought), I always understood his position and genuinely appreciated his often-abrupt honesty.

Anyone who was fortunate enough to be close with Korry knows how hard he has fought to keep it all together. Having personally seen the pressure he dealt with from friends, leaders, coworkers like myself, and other gangs, it was stressful just to be in his presence. With all of that and the history he battled, he still used his influence for good, even when his back was up against the wall.

One of the last texts I received from him said “Wats the move…lets make some progress” followed up by “…me and U can sit around and put a few things together and I will put it in motion cause things r pretty chill rn we cant get comfortable"

Korry’s death cannot and will not be in vain. We cannot let this tragedy rip all of our hard work apart. This is not to say that this evil should not be dealt with, but we cannot let it destroy the foundation that he worked so hard to help build.

TRU Colors is my life, my single passion that I’ve been so fortunate to fall into, and something I am not willing to give up on. I hope everyone on this team, gang or not, agrees and works tirelessly through the weekend to show Korry’s friends, family, and brothers some support as they work through all of this. I know it is tense and uncomfortable, but genuine communication is what TRU Colors was built on and what we must stand on.

I could not have said it better, and like my son, my family and the TRU Colors team are committed to moving forward—for ourselves, our communities, and our city.

I also want to share a little about TRU Colors. I hear so many misconceptions. I think this is probably our fault though, since we don’t speak much about what we do (core to our culture is action over words). We will strive to speak more often in the future.

TRU Colors is a fairly large brewery with a tightly integrated social mission to stop street violence and bring people together. To achieve this mission, we hire civilians, rival gang members, and others who have influence on the streets. Most of our employees are in a gang and remain in their gang, although this is not a requirement.

Our approach to stopping violence is based on our belief that violence is driven by economic issues and societal exclusion. Therefore, any viable solution must be inclusive and economically focused. To that end, we pay a livable wage (minimum is $37,500), provide company paid health insurance, and grant equity in the company through stock options.

This is the foundation of TRU Colors, a sustainable economic opportunity for those who have been excluded and now want to use their influence and stories to fight for peace and unity. The message in sharing their stories is, if rival gangs can unite to pursue a future that’s bigger and better, then couldn’t the rest of us drop the divisiveness and do the same?

Lastly, I hope you will show our team a little grace and reach out to gain understanding before drawing conclusions. Our team has not only taken on the difficult challenge of launching a large and complex business, but they are also on the frontlines every day fighting longstanding social problems like violence, divisiveness, and poverty. There is no playbook for this, and it is beyond difficult.

We will never forget Korry, or any of the others we have lost. Their dedication to the community and a brighter future will live on and further strengthen our commitment to fighting violence and uniting our city.

George Taylor

TRU Colors- CEO

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature.