Lyons’ funeral Saturday: Investigation continues

Published 6:27 pm Friday, January 11, 2019

A Port Arthur family is burying its loved one Saturday as an investigation continues into the circumstances of his police officer-involved death.

“If you go on the West Side of Port Arthur, Shayne was a very well-known person,” Andre Molo, brother of Shayne Lyons, said. “He was the silliest character you ever met. He was just, to everybody, ‘What’s going on pal?’”

A 2002 graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, Lyons earned a football scholarship to Prairie View A&M. He had been employed as a manager at a Family Dollar store and worked at a warehouse before he quit to take care of his mother, who was elderly and disabled, Molo said.

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“He gave up everything to take care of her,” he said.

Lyons was father to five children.

For now, the public has no answers as to why a Port Arthur police officer shot Shayne Lyons, 35, on Dec. 28. Police said only that a man was carrying a weapon in the 1600 block of Kansas, was told by an officer to drop the weapon and failed to do so as he advanced toward the officer.

Lyons’ family members, not police, provided his name to the news media and said he had been carrying a machete. The state Legislature made open carry of knives with blades longer than 5.5 inches — including spears, daggers and machetes — legal in 2017.

Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham said in a Dec. 31 news conference that the victim was carrying a pack of cigarettes that tested positive for PCP.

Wortham said Friday the reason that piece of information was released was because the family was present at the press conference and he wanted them to know the situation. He also added he has met with the family and plans to be “very open with the family.”

The shooting involved an officer, so the DA’s office and the Texas Rangers are handling the investigation. Neither has commented.

“As long as this is an ongoing investigation I really can’t say anything about it,” Wortham said.

Sgt. Stephanie Davis with the Texas Department of Public Safety said this remains an active investigation and additional details cannot be released. The Texas Rangers is a division of the Texas DPS.

Molo has plenty of questions about his brother’s death.

“It’s my personal opinion that it was a very unfair shooting,” Molo said, adding he was told there was only one officer at the scene when the shooting occurred and he believes the officer was a rookie.

He also questioned why the officer did not use a Taser rather than shooting him.

“Shayne was carrying a machete but never did he strike at the officer,” he said.

He said he was told the officer instructed Lyons to drop the weapon but wonders why Lyons was told to drop the weapon if it is legal to carry in public. Molo also said he wonders why the officer did not shoot to disarm him as opposed to firing to kill.

“I don’t know what the officer’s motive was at the time. If you are firing that many rounds, I think eight rounds were fired and it took like five to take my brother down.”

Lyons was described as 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds. In a previous news story, family members said he had worked as a substitute teacher as well.

The family said they are working to cope with Lyons’ loss.

“We’re trying to do our best to help them (children) and help with mom right now,” he said. “We call them and check on them, see if they need anything and do our best to look out for one another.”

A visitation for Shayne Delmar Lyons will be at 9 a.m. Saturday at Rock Island Baptist Church with services to follow at 11 a.m. under the direction of Moody-Harris Funeral Home.