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'Nobody should be getting away with murder': Grieving mother speaks out after son killed in North Preston, N.S.

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A grieving mother is speaking out after her 36-year-old son was shot and killed in North Preston, N.S., Wednesday night.

Leslie Sparks says she last saw her son Tyrell Romone Beals Wednesday at supper time.

“He came, he always came home, got a bite to eat, then he and his brothers they come out and they sit in their cars and they talk, laugh,” said Leslie Sparks,

“Then, later on, he comes back, he always comes back to check in.”

According to Sparks, he returned home around 11:30 p.m.

“He came in, pulled in in a rental and he was talking to his little brother and they were out here laughing and whatever and his last words were he was going up to North Preston to chill out with his girlfriend,” said Sparks.

Police investigate a fatal shooting in North Preston, N.S. (CTV Atlantic)

Fatal shooting

According to a news release from the RCMP, officers responded to a report of a man being shot on Downey Road around 11:48 p.m. They found the injured man suffering from gunshot wounds.

Emergency responders took him to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“I was in the house, me and my husband were watching the 11 o’clock news and I fell off asleep for a minute and my phone rang. Normally when my phone rings anywhere past 12, I always get that nervousness,” says Sparks.

On the other end of the line was Beals’ girlfriend calling to tell her he had been shot.

“She said, ‘Come up home right now.’ She said, ‘Someone shot Tyrell,’" recalls Sparks.

Sparks got dressed and her husband came into the room asking what had happened.

“I said, ‘Somebody shot Tyrell.’ He said, ‘Just hold on, just calm down,’ because I was, I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t know what to expect,’” says Sparks.

“We leave and I told his two brothers, I said, ‘Come on, get up, get up. Tyrell got shot.”

'My heart is broken'

Police are investigating the incident as a homicide, which they do not believe was a random act. Evidence indicates multiple shots were fired.

“I’m tore up. Like, my heart is broken. I’m crushed because of what happened to my son. My son was executed and I don’t know why,” said Sparks.

“He was a father, a father of six children – two boys and four girls, one set of twin girls – they are going to miss their dad.”

The family got in the car and rushed to her son. According to Sparks, they saw Halifax Regional Police and RCMP vehicles in the parking lot of St. John’s Hall in Westphal.

“I looked over and I’m wondering, ‘OK, why isn’t the road blocked off? If there is three active shooters up in North Preston, why isn’t the road blocked off?” she recalls.

“When we got up the hill we met the ambulance coming in. So I said to my husband, ‘Turn around, don’t go down there. Turn around, because he is in there.’ So we made a U-turn and we followed the ambulance back. So, I figured, the ambulance is coming, the police know, obviously I know they would have known there was a shooting in North Preston, so these same three vehicles are still at the St. John’s Hall parking lot, still talking. They never moved. They never moved and I’m like, ‘Why aren’t the roads blocked off? Why did these people get a chance to get away tonight? Like how did this happen?'”

Leslie Sparks of North Preston, N.S., is seen in this picture taken on May 9, 2024.

Call for protection

Sparks says she is disappointed in the lack of support her community is getting and she doesn’t feel safe.

“He was gunned down. These people got away last night. If the police had been on the scene when they got that call, that 911 call, they probably would have had somebody in custody right now. But they didn’t,” she says.

“So now I’m left with the hurt. I’m left in the dark knowing that my son was gunned down and there was no one there to protect him. He was afraid of the police, but if they had shown him that they were there to protect him, he would have loved it.”

In the wake of her son’s death, Sparks is calling for protection for her community.

“We’ve got young men running around killing other men and they get away with it. They shouldn’t be getting away with it. Nobody should be getting away with murder. You don’t give life and you shouldn’t have a right to take it,” she says.

“Until the police officers can show me that they are here to serve and protect people of colour, everybody, we should all be getting the same amount of respect and treatment. We’re not getting it and I’ve seen it for years. I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it and there is no change,” says Sparks.

Halifax Regional Police says officers were in the area on an unrelated matter and arrived on scene within a matter of minutes. They say first aid was administered by officers while they waited for the ambulance to arrive.

“It’s certainly a tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family. It’s traumatic any time someone loses a loved one and certainly, you know, there can be heavy emotions and a chaotic scene, right. From the information I’ve received, there were multiple individuals at the scene and it’s important to remember that our officers are there to promote public safety, protect the evidence and gather the information that’s necessary,” says Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay, with the Halifax District RCMP.

Police insist they secured the area moments after they arrived and brought in extra RCMP officers and the Halifax Regional Police Emergency Response Team.

“It’s a very tragic incident for the community and we have officers there for increased police presence to promote public safety,” says Tremblay.

Tyrell Romone Beals is pictured in a photo submitted by family.

'He loved his family'

When asked to describe the type of person her son was, Sparks said family was his number one priority.

“He loved his family, he loved his kids and he wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize the love he had for his kids because his kids were his priority and so was I. I was his heart and if there was anybody in the world that he would listen to, he would listen to my husband and me. And now, I will never get a chance to hold him again and to tell him how much I love him because of what happened to him,” she says.

“The son I know, the son I raised, I’m not going to paint a pretty picture because everybody has their own ways of doing things. When they leave from the home, we don’t know what they are doing. But I can honestly say, he was a legend in that community. He respected everybody and the only thing that would piss him off is if someone came at him. He wasn’t the type of person to be out there bullying anybody. But he would have that type of stuff come back to him. He wouldn’t go and hurt anybody, but he would let them know, you come at me I’m going to come right back at you. That’s how he was, but he was a harmless person,” she says.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call police at 902-490-5020, or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or at www.crimestoppers.ns.ca.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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