American Idol winner and former reality-show star Fantasia Barrino is mourning the death of her 18-year-old nephew, Tyquan Von Ricco Washington, who was shot multiple times and killed outside of a Greensboro, North Carolina, home on Tuesday, February 13. Though full details have not been released, police say Tyquan was shot as a result of a dispute between the teen and 21-year-old David Lee White, Jr. EMS attempted to save Tyquan’s life, but the teenager was pronounced dead at Moses Cone Hospital. Several hours after Tyquan’s death, White was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He is currently being held without bond in the Guilford County Jail, which is located in Greensboro.
Tyquan was the son of Fantasia’s brother, R&B recording artist, Ricco Barrino, whose real name is Kassim Vonricco Washington, and Fantasia posted an older picture of her nephew to her Instagram page where she asked for prayers for her brother and Tyquan’s mother. Earlier today, the singer posted an updated picture of her nephew with the tags #unreal and #unbelievable and wishing Tyquan a Happy Valentine’s Day. She added that “Xavier Barrino will soon be on his feet to dance down here for you again,” a reference to her brother, Xavier’s, fight for survival after a serious motorcycle accident in September, 2017.
According to Tyquan’s father, the teen was interested in a music program at a local community college and hoped to enroll as he wanted to be a recording artist like Ricco and was working on his own mix tape. Ricco took to his own Instagram page to share a heartfelt love letter to his son.
“I needed to write this sooner but it’s funny how life make you aware of your own unconscious procrastinations. I wanted you to know that from the depths of my heart your daddy loves you and he always has. I remember holding you for the first time that’s when I knew that I had to do something other than work in somebody’s factory so that one day you could look up to me. As I write this letter with tears streaming down my face I want you to know that I showed you tough love because I knew you were something special. I never forget the first time that me and your mother took you to gymnastics for tryouts. I remember the lady walking over to us and telling us that we would have to wait behind a long list of other kids lol I guess she didn’t know what my kid was capable of because when she turned around she spotted you turning somersaults as if you were in the US Olympics.”
Ricco went on to tell his son that he wanted to be there for him every day and that Tyquan “became a bigger man when you put on a pair of wings and did what I have yet to do.” The recording artist’s pain flowed through his fingertips when he added “So you show me your leadership skills. you go join hands with your grandma and kiss for me. You sing loud for me up there. Love dad.”