Murder suspect's family claims he didn't kill Lieutenant Weatherford

18-year-old Tyler Calamese faces a capital murder charge in the shooting death of Newport police officer Lt. Weatherford but Calamese's family said they know he's innocent.

NEWPORT, Ark. (KTHV) -- 18-year-old Tyler Calamese faces a capital murder charge in the shooting death of Newport police officer Lt. Weatherford but Calamese's family said they know he's innocent.

His mother, Shanika Reynolds, said she was in communication with Tyler at the time of the shooting. Monday at 5:32 p.m. their text messages started. Tyler said "mom where are you,” she said at the house, then Tyler asked his mom for the food stamp card. Then at 5:55 after Reynolds hears about the shooting.

She said police were telling her that Tyler was a person of interest and they were looking for him. Shanika asked her son where he was at and he replied "Harmony Homes,” saying he had been there all day. Then a little after 7 p.m. she said she went to Harmony Homes and picked him up to take him to the police department.

“When I got to my son he was perfectly fine he was laughing and joking and standing outside with a group of boys,” she said.

She pulled up and she was hysterical and mad.

“They were all looking at me like what is wrong with you? My son looked at me and said mom what’s wrong with you and he grabbed me and we got in the car. He asked what's wrong and I said son what have you done and he said mom what are you talking about,” Reynolds said.

She said Tyler agreed to go to the police department for questioning and asked him one last time before going in if he was guilty.

“I begged with him, I said Tyler you have got to tell the truth and he said mom I would never do anything like that. He said man I like Patrick, that's the thing! He likes Patrick,” she recalled.

She walked him into the police department and things went south.

“When they got him in there they turned him around and said you are under arrest,” she said that she didn’t know what to think.

Reynolds said her family is receiving death threats if they don't keep quiet. That's the only reason she could think of as to why he would confess, to protect his family.

“You're getting death threats, I would too, he's scared. He doesn't know what to think. He's trying to protect us. I know my son and that's what he's trying to do,” Reynolds pointed out.

Newport officers said Arkansas State Police are looking into everything and that this is still a very active investigation.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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