Jackson County prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old man for his alleged role in the shooting death of another man that occurred in the parking lot of an Independence apartment complex.
Tyrone Eugene Willard II of Kansas City faces charges of second-degree murder and distributing marijuana in the Dec. 4 slaying of Phillip A. Diaz, 23.
The shooting happened outside the Hawthorne Apartment Complex in the 16700 block of East Fifth Street North in Independence. It was the city’s seventh homicide of 2016.
According to court records, Willard and another man had gone to meet the victim at the apartment complex to buy drugs. After buying the drugs, the accomplice shot Diaz. They reportedly left him in the parking lot and drove away.
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Police arrived at the apartment complex about 5 p.m., found the victim and tried to resuscitate him. Diaz was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died.
Crime scene technicians observed a set of tire tracks leaving the parking lot and headed southbound on Fifth Street North.
Investigators obtained a search warrant of the victim’s cellphone that showed an outgoing call was made at 3:25 p.m. Investigators traced that call to a cellphone connected to Willard from his Facebook page.
Court records showed that Willard and Diaz exchanged text messages the day of the shooting. Willard and Diaz had previously worked together at a retail store in Independence.
Investigators allegedly later found traces of blood inside the car Willard had driven that day.
Willard was out on bond while waiting to be sentenced after pleading guilty Sept. 12 on robbery charges in Jackson County, according to court records.