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Update: WPD investigating 'suspected' arson at gravesite of murdered Tru Colors leader

Vince Winkel
The Wilmington Police Department is investigating an apparent arson at Northside cemetary.

Early Wednesday morning, the Wilmington Fire Department and Wilmington Police Department responded to a fire at the grave of Koredreese Tyson. Police say it was apparently unrelated to a shooting that injured one person several blocks away around the same time.

Update Wednesday 7:30 p.m. — The Wilmington Police Department has updated its original response to questions about the fire, walking back the statement that someone "set Tyson's grave on fire" and providing more circumspect language:

“We are investigating the fire. We are looking into the possibility of arson and if that turns out to be the case we will hold whoever is responsible accountable. I cannot confirm that it was definitely arson because I do not know that. I can tell you that they are investigating it though and are looking at that as a possibility. They are working to identify if there are any suspects. We will keep the community updated.”

According to WPD, police and fire units responded to the Calvary Memorial Cemetery on North 11th Street around 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning. The tent set up over Tyson's grave had been set on fire. By mid-day the tent had been moved to the rear of the cemetery; a small crowd had gathered and appeared to be watching over it.

Tyson was shot to death in late July during a brutal attack that killed two and badly injured one at the house of George Taylor III, the chief operating officer of Tru Colors. The company was started by Taylor's father — Tru Colors CEO George Taylor, Jr. — as 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").

Shortly after his death, the company released a statement quoting Taylor and his father mourning the death of Tyson.

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

The elder Taylor acknowledged Tyson's past involvement with gangs, but both he and his son said they considered "Korry" a friend and leader in the company.

"[W]hile 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," Taylor, Jr. wrote in the statement.

WPD said it does not believe the arson was related to a shooting that took place around 4 a.m. at the intersection of Rankin and Anderson streets, about four to five blocks away from the cemetery. That shooting injured one person who was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive. Police received calls about a second victim and performed a K-9 search, but were unable to locate one.

Tyson's murder, the arson at his gravesite, and the apparently unrelated nearby shooting are all under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 910-343-3609 or use the WPD app to send in tips.

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.