A shooting in west-end Halifax has claimed the life of former local basketball star Tyler Richards.
Richards, 29, was found dead Sunday at about 7:55 p.m. at a home in the 6900 block of Cook Avenue, near the Halifax Shopping Centre.
Sources in the justice system told Local Xpress that Richards had been shot.
Police remained at the home Monday as forensic officers processed the scene.
Later Monday, Halifax Regional Police announced that based on an autopsy, the death has been ruled a homicide.
Police would like anyone with information about Richards or the killing to call them at 902-490-5016 or make an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers.
Richards grew up in north-end Halifax but most recently lived in Dartmouth.
A six-foot-two point guard, he starred for the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men in Antigonish and then joined the Halifax Rainmen of the National Basketball League of Canada, where he played for two seasons.
“Tyler’s passing is a real tragedy to the St. F.X. basketball family,” longtime X-Men coach Steve Konchalski said Monday.
“He was a great player, a great teammate, a solid student and a pleasure to coach. Unfortunately, somewhere his life went off the tracks.
“The bottom line is that we have lost a young man with the potential to be a positive member of society, a family has lost a son and a little girl has lost her father. We are all in shock. Our condolences go out to all his family and friends.”
Tyler Bradley Richards was well known to police. Last month, he and two other people were arrested after police seized a large quantity of cocaine from a vehicle on Walter Havill Drive in Halifax.
All three people were charged with possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. Richards was also charged with possession of hashish and breaching probation.
Richards was released on a $5,000 recognizance with one surety and ordered to live at an address on Basswood Run in Dartmouth.
He also was banned from possessing firearms or drugs and from having contact with his co-accused, Anthony Douglas Roberts, 31, of Lake Echo and Jasmin Jasco Demirovic, 23, of Burnaby, B.C.
Richards was due back in Halifax provincial court May 9.
Richards was a four-time Atlantic conference all-star at St. F.X. His final season with the X-Men was cut short when he and two teammates were charged in connection with a bar fight in February 2009. He was sentenced in April 2010 to four months’ house arrest for assault causing bodily harm.
After a few years away from the game, Richards returned to action with the Rainmen. He was let go by the club in December 2013 after a couple of brushes with the law that month.
In the first incident, he was charged with assaulting a woman at a bar in downtown Halifax.
The next week, Richards was one of six people arrested over a 48-hour period in Operation Indict, an investigation that targeted street-level drug trafficking in the Halifax area.
Drug and weapons charges against Richards from the police raid were eventually dropped.
Last October, he received a year’s probation on the assault charge.
Mark Knox, Richards’ lawyer, said he was “very saddened” to hear of the death.
“I know from a presentence report that had been prepared on Tyler in the past that he had been a great role model for young people in the African-Nova Scotian community,” Knox said.
“He comes from a wonderful family. His mother’s just an incredibly lovely woman.”
The latest case against Richards was not a strong one “based on what I’ve seen,” Knox said.
Asked if the killing could be related to the arrest in March, Knox replied: “That is something way beyond my knowledge. I have no reason to think that.”
Lawyer Lyle Howe said Richards is the second person from his childhood basketball team to be murdered.
“It’s sad that so many young black men get killed in this community,” Howe said. “For a small city, it’s unacceptable.”
Former Rainmen CEO Andre Levingston, now general manager of the Halifax Hurricanes, expressed sadness about Richards' untimely death.
“Tyler was a good ball player who brought his game to the court every chance he got,” Levingston said in a news release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this very difficult time.”
It’s the fifth homicide in Halifax Regional Municipality so far this year.
Frank John Lampe, 58, was stabbed to death Jan. 21 at his apartment building on Harlington Crescent in Halifax. His son, Elias Frank Joseph Lampe, 20, is charged with second-degree murder.
Blaine Gordon Clothier, 26, died March 2 after he was stabbed at an apartment building on Autumn Drive in Halifax, where he was staying with a friend. Benjamin Joshua Gillis, 25, of Halifax is accused of second-degree murder.
On March 26, yoga instructor Kristin Johnston, 32, was found dead at her home on Oceanview Drive in Halifax. Last week, police charged her boyfriend, Nicholas Jordan Butcher, 33, with second-degree murder after he was released from hospital, where he had his right hand surgically reattached after he cut it off with a mitre saw.
And on March 29, Joseph Douglas Cameron, 20, was shot to death on a sidewalk along Mount Edward Road in Dartmouth. Police have yet to charge anyone in the death of the Dartmouth man.