412 15th St. SE
Cedar Rapids, IA
June 21, 2001
Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing
On Thursday, June 21, 2001, Tyrone Gilbert, 28, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa was shot to death on the front porch at 412 15th St. SE, just four blocks from his home.
A post in an AETV Cold Case Files community forum alleges Gilbert was murdered by the Gangster Disciples gang. The Disciples allegedly were friends of Jamar Magett, 19, of Chicago, Ill., a Chicagoan with gang affiliations who was fatally shot in the forehead and chest while standing in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids on May 10, 1999. Tyrone Gilbert’s younger brother Paul Gilbert, 18, was charged with Magett’s murder, but in September 1999 a Linn County jury acquitted the younger Gilbert in the slaying.
- Courtesy photo Mark Christian, Cedar Rapids Gazette
- Cedar Rapids police talk in front of the 412 15th St. SE home where Tyrone Gilbert was shot.
In a June 22, 2001 Cedar Rapids Gazette article, a woman who refused to give her name to the newspaper said Gilbert had stopped at her home in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue SE the Wednesday before the shooting and told her he was afraid to go home because of “problems” with men who’d recently moved to the neighborhood from Chicago.
The Gazette also quoted Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association President Russ Oviatt as saying, “There’s a lot of worried neighbors, a lot of concern there may be some payback.”
The night Gilbert was shot, Aymanda Weber — one of those in the 412 15th St. SE home where Gilbert was shot — said Gilbert had rapped on the door but no one opened it. The 18-year-old Weber said she’d been sitting on the living room sofa at about 1:35 a.m. when she heard rapid footsteps outside, followed by what sounded like an argument. There was a shot, she said, followed a shout and then two or three more shots.
The teen said she heard sounds of groaning and then someone knocked on the home’s window. Just as she pulled back the curtains, she saw Gilbert fall onto the porch.
Police found Gilbert — who wore a gray shirt and blue basketball-style shorts — dead on the home’s porch with two gunshot wounds to his abdomen.
While witness descriptions varied, most said they’d seen a black man wearing a sleeveless white shirt and baggy black pants running from the scene.
- Courtesy photo Mark Christian, Cedar Rapids Gazette
- Markers show where police found shell casings at the Tyrone Gilbert crime scene.
Two witnesses said they’d heard a man saying “Hold on, hold on,” followed by another voice cursing just before the gunshots. Witnesses also told police they’d seen three men running from the murder scene after shots were fired, including the man in the baggy pants who entered a nearby residence and then left again a short time later wearing a different set of clothing.
Trying to turn a life around
In addition to his younger brother Paul’s legal entanglements, Tyrone Gilbert also had his own share of encounters with the criminal court system. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reported a record that included drug and assault charges dating back to 1990, and single counts of theft and burglary.
His mother Linda, however, chose to remember the good times and focus on the ways in which her son was trying to get his life turned around.
He’d been born prematurely, she told the Gazette, but loved to eat, loved to work out and loved his job at Buffalo Wild Wings. And despite his big size, she said, he was “just like a teddy bear.”
He’d attended the Cedar Rapids schools before getting mixed up with a “bad crowd” in the Wellington Heights neighborhood, Mrs. Gilbert said, but had gone on to finish his GED and had attended one year of college at Kirkwood Community College. He also was a member of the New Testament Deliverance Church and often attended services there with her.
Prior to his murder, he’d been in the process of putting together a new family grill for the Fourth of July. It still lay partially assembled outside the family’s home as they prepared for his upcoming funeral.
A week after Gilbert’s murder, Cedar Rapids Police Lt. Bernie Walther announced that officers had executed a search warrant on a 49-year-old man seen running from the murder scene, and that in addition to collecting a brown coat, white T-shirt, blue sweat pants and sport shoes, they also had taken hair samples and a cheek swab — normally collected for DNA testing purposes. The suspect had been photographed and his hands also tested for gunpowder residue.
“Do not take revenge”
The day before Gilbert’s funeral, more than 250 people — spilling out into the foyer — packed the Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home to pay their respects to Gilbert. As mourners passed by his casket, they tucked gifts in around him: roses, photos, teddy bears, a small ceramic angel.
“The city has maintained we have no problem,” Pastor Aaron Doolin of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church told the congregation. “We have a problem. It’s sin.”
During the funeral services on Wednesday, June 27, Pastor Craig Brown of the New Testament Deliverance Church told Gilbert’s friends to “cover [Gilbert's family members] with the blood of Jesus” and to “give them comfort and peace,” as they all stretched out arms towards Gilbert’s family.
“Do not take revenge,” Brown told them. “Do not try to get even. Love one another. Pray for one another. Encourage one another.”
A young boy sang “Amazing Grace” while nearby easels displayed photos of Gilbert with his siblings and friends, playing ball in a Jane Boyd league and his GED certificate.
That same day, the Gazette quoted police as saying there were no known links between Gilbert’s murder and the acquittal of his younger brother Paul in Jamar Magett’s shooting death.
Both Gilbert’s and Magett’s cases remain unsolved, as does that of Willie Junior Brocks, 49, who was shot and killed November 27, 1999, on the same block where Gilbert was slain.
About Tyrone Gilbert
Tyrone Gilbert was born November 22, 1972. He was survived by his parents and four younger siblings.
Memorial services were held June 27 at 2 p.m. at the Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home, with burial following in the Linwood Cemetery.
If you have any information about Tyrone Gilbert’s unsolved murder, please contact the Cedar Rapids Police Department at (319) 286-5396 or Iowa Cold Cases via our Contact form.
- Cedar Rapids Police Department
- “CRPD Chief Opens Up On Recent Open Homicide Cases,” KCRG TV-9, February 14, 2013
- “JonBenet arrest fills East Iowans with new hope,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, Aug. 19, 2006 (correction on Gilbert’s age)
- Tyrone Gilbert, “United States Social Security Death Index“
- “Unsolved murders in Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” AETV Community forum, Dec. 10, 2004
- “Cold Cases,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sept. 21, 2003
- “DNA Technology did not exist 20 years ago,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, Jan. 31, 2002
- “Pastor: City should pray,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 28, 2001
- “Clothing seized in murder,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 28, 2001
- “Funeral to be held today for C.R. murder victim,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 27, 2001
- “Murder Has Chicago Links: Neighbors used to gunshots but cautious,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 22, 2001
- “Victim’s brother acquitted in 1999 gang-related killing,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 22, 2001
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