Losing someone is never easy.

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from my mother informing me that my cousin died Sunday morning at 1:30 am. I couldn’t believe my ears, I just yelled out loud WHAT; and then I heard my husband call out to me. He said Kiyana what happened? I ignored him because no sooner than he asked me that question, I was asking my mother what happened.

I asked my mom what happened and she said he was shot by NY police officers. Again I said WHAT in a loud voice; and my husband asked again what happened. My mother went on to tell me that my cousin was shot five times by the officers. In a loud voice I said WHAT, that doesn’t make any sense why five times. Not only that but she informed me he was shot three times in the back, one shot in the leg and one shot to the head. By now my husband is yelling what happened and I told him my cousin was shot five times by the cops. I’m still on the phone with my mother trying to make sense of it all. It’s feels like a bad dream you can’t wake up from. My cousin and his wife took the trip to New York for the weekend because they were attending a family birthday party. We were all born in raised in Queens, NY. My cousin had been living in Maryland that last 10 years, and this was only a weekend trip. This shouldn’t have been the last trip he would ever take.

My eyes are filled with tears and I can’t stop crying. It’s senseless to shoot and kill a person that way. I’m in shock and disbelief about this whole ordeal, he has a wife and children. He was only 32 years old; and now he will never have the chance to see his beautiful children grow up. His mother is a wreck, his sister is a wreck and the whole family has nothing but questions; trying to figure out and understand what actually happened. How does taking a trip for the weekend turn into losing your life.

I called my sister immediately after to inform her about what happened; and my brother in law asked if I tried to search for any information online. I told him no, then I started to see what I could find as far as a NY shooting. I found a small little blurb but it didn’t have enough information and there was no way to tell if it was my cousin since they didn’t list a name and said the investigation is ongoing. We still haven’t found out anymore information but later that day I just so happen to find an article with a little more info. This is so crazy because I can’t stop looking at old photos from when we were younger. Another cousin of mine wrote a beautiful poem that just left me in tears this morning. You hear of these stories on the news Happening to others, but it’s like a punch to your gut when it hits home.

Man fatally shot by police in Queens after traffic stop

Was the headline of the article and as I read it right now while writing this, I’m just shaking my head. I’m waiting for the character assassination to start, those individuals ready to say he caused his own death, he’s a thug and anything else they can think of. He was soft spoken, respectful, a father, husband, brother, son, nephew and cousin. He was loving, sweet and a hard worker, he was family.

I’m having a tough time getting this out of my head, knowing my cousin has been shot and killed and taken away from his loved ones. That’s a hard pill to swallow, reality I truly don’t want to face. I’ll share the poem my cousin had written so I can bring this to a close.

Can’t get it out of my mind. Wrote a poem to articulate my feelings.

My cousin died this weekend. A life ended in its prime. Killed on the street, shots through his body. But still haven’t heard what was his crime.

He won’t trend. He won’t go viral. His death won’t make the national news.

He’ll be written off as some lost soul, who caused his own death, we’ll assume.

… They tell us he was near a car, double parked, and holding alcohol in his hand.

Was that alone, all that drove 2 plain clothes cops, to stop and detain this man?

Of course their suspicions were right. He MUST have been up to no good. The young man was wearing a gun!

But if the second amendment also applies to him, doesn’t he have the right to one?

I don’t know why he fled, or even if he did, or what he thought as he ran down the block. Can’t be sure if he pulled out a gun like they said, but my guess is probably not.

Haven’t seen him in a couple of years, since he got married and had a few young ones.

Still I know he’s not a thug like they’ll claim. He’s a Christian and an electrician. But I’m sure late at night with his hair all in braids he ‘looked like a criminal’ on a mission.

…I don’t say this to judge anyone involved on the other side of the trigger. Their jobs are hard, it’s scary out there. They were probably scared that night I figure.

While nothing will bring him back to life, there is still a lot to be done. I’m praying our family will get the whole truth, on why his mother had to bury her son.

RIP George Tillman

Gone to soon but never forgotten, we love you. Forever always you’ll be in our hearts❤️😭