Father of army sergeant killed on New Years Eve says he was a “good kid”

ST. JOSEPH TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Tyrone Hassel Jr. remembers New Years Eve well. He was at his home cooking dinner for his son and daughter-in-law so that they wouldn’t have to be out on the streets past midnight. He gave food to his son, Tyrone Hassel III, to take home and then he walked out the door. Hassel Jr. glanced at the clock. It read 10:58 p.m. That was the last time he saw his son alive.

“Five minutes [later] and I got disturbing phone call from my daughter-in-law saying somebody shot him,” Hassell Jr said. “I’m in disbelief like ‘It can’t happen. He just brought you some food.'”

Sadly, it did. St. Joseph Township police said on Monday night they responded to a report of shooting on 2086 Colfax Avenue. When they arrived they found 23-year-old  Tyrone Hassell III suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was treated at the scene and at Lakeland Hospital. However, he was later pronounced  dead.

“Everybody loved him,” Hassel Jr. said. “Nobody hated him that I can think of. I don’t know why this happened.”

Hassel Jr. said that his son, who was a father himself, was full of life and never harmed anyone. He was a sergeant in the army who just transferred from Denver to Fort Stewart in Georgia. He traveled to Michigan to visit family for the holidays.

“He’s always been a good kid,” Hassel Jr. said. “Most parents can’t say that, growing up in our city. But, he was.”

Police said they’re continuing to investigate the incident. They urge anyone with information to call (269) 429-6890 or the Berrien County Crimestoppers at 1-800-342-STOP. Hassel Jr. suggests the same.

“If anybody knows anything, I strongly suggest you say something [and] speak up,” Hassel Jr. said. “He fought for this country. I thought I’d lose my son to the military before the streets of Benton Harbor.”

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