Prince George's County police today are seeking a second suspect in the shooting death yesterday of Jay Bias, the younger brother of the late University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, who died of a cocaine overdose four years ago.
One suspect was charged last night in the slaying, the county's 113th homicide this year. The other suspect, described as in his early 20s, remains at large, police said.
The death of James "Jay" Stanley Bias 3rd, 20, meant more horror and sadness to a family already devastated by the loss of a son to drugs.
Tyler is scheduled for arraignment tomorrow in Prince George's County Circuit Court at Upper Marlboro.
Jay Bias was fatally wounded yesterday afternoon on a mall parking lot in Hyattsville after he got into an argument with another man at the Kay Jewelry Store in Prince George's Plaza.
Bias, who stood 6 feet 7 inches, was pronounced dead at 2:52 p.m. after arriving at 1:15 p.m. at the Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale. Friends had rushed him there after he had been shot twice in the back from a car containing two men, police Sgt. Chuck Cooke said.
That hospital is where his older brother, Len, died at age 22 from cocaine intoxication June 19, 1986, two days after the Boston Celtics chose him in the first round of the National Basketball Association draft.
About 8:30 last night, Jerry Samuel Tyler, 24, of the 4900 block of Iverson Place in Temple Hills, turned himself in at the Oxon Hill precinct. Tyler was charged with first-degree murder and was being held under no bail in Upper Marlboro.
Police said today that Tyler is the husband of an unidentified saleswoman at the jewelry store who apparently was waiting on Bias. Police said Bias was there "conducting business about an earlier purchase."
The shooting took place within minutes of the time Bias, of the 3100 block of 75th Ave. in Landover, and two friends arrived at Prince George's Plaza in the 3400 block of East-West Highway in Hyattsville.
"He and a couple of friends went into a jewelry store," Cooke said. "While inside, he got into a verbal altercation with a black male, in his early 20s."
The man asked Bias "to step outside to settle the argument," Cooke said. "Mr. Bias didn't comply. The suspect left and Mr. Bias apparently went about his business."
After making a purchase, Bias and his friends left the mall, Cooke said.
As the three friends were driving off in a red Toyota 4Runner truck, police said, the same man with whom Bias argued in the mall fired several shots from a light green Mercedes Benz, striking Bias, who was sitting in the truck's front passenger seat. Bias was hit twice in the back and the car containing the gunman sped away.
Friends drove him immediately to the hospital, which was "literally down the street," Cooke said.
Although there are two suspects, police said one man was believed to have fired the weapon.
Lt. Alphonso Hawkins, a spokesman for the county police, said today police have no indication yet exactly what Bias argued about before the shooting.
Hawkins would not say whether police have recovered a suspected murder weapon or if the car used in the shooting has been found.
"You wouldn't think a verbal argument would lead to somebody getting shot," Cooke said.
Another person with Bias was struck by flying glass shattered by the bullets, police said. He was treated and released from Leland, but police would not identify him, Hawkins said.
Cooke said James and Lonise Bias arrived at the hospital in late afternoon to confirm a second son's death. They then returned to their Landover home where they were in seclusion last night. A friend screened visitors at the door.
After Len Bias died, Lonise Bias began counseling hundreds of young people across the nation about the dangers of drugs.
"It hurts," Patricia McLean, 45, a neighbor, said of Jay Bias' death. "He was so quiet. He never bothered nobody. It's the saddest thing in the world.
"To shoot him in his back, he [the shooter] had to be a coward," McLean said. "My heart is with his mother. I just feel so sorry for his mother. She has lost another son.
"It's so sad."
Jay Bias, the older of two remaining sons, shared an apartment with his sister, Michelle. Michelle Bias declined to talk about her brother.
As was his brother, Jay Bias also was a basketball player, although he had not achieved the success Len Bias did in college.
In 1986 as a junior in high school, Jay Bias averaged 20 points a game at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville and guided the school to the Maryland Class AAA Championship. As a senior, he averaged 26 points a game.
He said he had no interest in attending the University of Maryland, where his brother had achieved first-team All America status. Jay Bias enrolled at Allegany Community College in Cumberland, where he majored in telecommunications. He averaged 17 points a game but dropped out of school after his freshman year. A friend told The Sun that he hoped eventually t enter American University in Washington.