(Editor’s note: this story is reprinted by permission from Venice Current. Many in Pacific Palisades may have heard about the two young people who were shot in Venice—and the young man who died, Tyheam “TY” Bray Jr. 6’1” 275 pounds, had played against Palisades High School. As a junior in 2019, he played six games and was credited with nine tackles – four solo and five assists).
On Monday, July 5, Alyssa Smith, a recent graduate with an associate’s degree in merchandise, and Tyheam “TY” Bray Jr., a 2021 Venice High grad, learned that their schedules aligned– something rare since the two, who had just started dating, had demanding schedules. Alyssa, who was staying downtown, wanted to show Ty she was making an effort in the relationship and drove to Venice for the date. “We went out and did date stuff,” said Alyssa. “We got some food then went to check out lowrider cars. Ty loved his cars.”
Alyssa said that although they were enjoying the evening, it started to get late. They called it a night and Ty drove Alyssa back to her parked car on Brooks Avenue, near Ty’s house. While exchanging farewells, Alyssa said she started taking her seatbelt off when a car pulled up behind them. Ty motioned the other vehicle to move along, “that’s when they started shooting out of nowhere,” said Alyssa.
“I was in shock. I didn’t know what was happening to us.”
Alyssa said she ducked down, and Ty put his arm on top of her: “he was trying to keep me down to save my life. That’s how good of a guy he was; he was protecting me.”
Alyssa called 911 while Ty called his mom. The two then took off to try and get away from the gunshots. “The next thing I knew, more shots rang out, and the car flipped. I felt a lot of pain.”
Alyssa was shot twice, once in the neck and the other bullet landed behind her heart. Ty was also shot. The next moments for Alyssa were about survival. She didn’t know the extent of her or Ty’s injuries, but she knew she was in a lot of pain and could tell that Ty wasn’t doing well. The reality of being injured and needing medical attention, however, was met with fear that the vehicle could come back. “I knew I needed to get help–Ty had stopped talking and was only making noises, but I didn’t know if they were going to circle back to see if we were still alive.”
Alyssa was still on the phone with 911 but didn’t know the area so she couldn’t tell dispatchers where she was: “They kept asking my location, but it was so dark I couldn’t see any markers.”
Alyssa would eventually climb out of the flipped car and started screaming for help. Nearby neighbors heard her plea and came out to help. “They were able to give locations and get help to where we were.” While working to get help, Alyssa said she kept reassuring Ty that she was there by his side. “I kept going back to put my hand on him so he could feel I was close and that he wasn’t alone.”
When the ambulance arrived, Alyssa said the emergency personnel told her to stand to one side while they worked to get Ty out of the vehicle. “I was a little surprised at how they were treating us, but I did what I was told. It felt like they thought we were a part of a gang or something bad instead of two kids who had just been on a date.”
Alyssa said she nor Ty have had any involvement with gangs, adding that her focus has been on her studies and Ty’s on work and family. “I spent most of my time in college studying and barely had much time for extracurricular activities. Ty has so much passion for his family. He was such a good guy and was a man of God.”
Ty would die that night from his injuries. Alyssa, who just celebrated her six year remission from leukemia, is recovering from the two gunshot wounds and multiple fractures and bruising around her aorta and lungs.
And, while the physical parts of her body heal, Alyssa is also reeling from the traumatic event of the night. “I can’t close my eyes because I keep seeing parts of the night. I see Ty and want to keep telling him I’m there for him.” Noises are also a trigger for Alyssa.
As both families work through the emotional toll, there is also a financial impact.
Alyssa’s family is raising money for unexpected medical expenses.
A recent post by Alyssa’s mom on Facebook reads:
Alyssa is starting her long road to recovery. She will soon be home but for now is slated to see an orthopedic surgeon that will address her fractured finger and wound as well as her shoulder. They will also be taking into account her previous shoulder replacement that stemmed from the cancer and chemotherapy treatments to save her life.
We ask that you continue to pray for not only her physical healing but her mental health as well. The trauma is very real and very present in every move and sound. It comes in waves and are sometimes unable to be consoled.
So we ask God to continue to pour out his Love and warmth over her, May he hold her tight and carry her until she’s able to walk again I pray all this in Jesus mighty name Amen
I also ask that you keep Ty’s family in your hearts and prayers over the coming days, weeks and months May they feel his presence in every moment and feel the warmth of Jesus around them when the pain is too raw to hide, may they lean into him for his love and strength I pray this in Jesus mighty name Amen
A Go Fund Me page has also been set up for Ty’s family.