Five children, 12 to 16, killed singer who wouldn’t give up his car keys, Tenn. cops say

Nashville, Tennessee, police arrested three juveniles 12 to 16 on criminal homicide charges after singer Kyle Yorlets was shot and killed, apparently for refusing to hand over his keys, according to authorities.
Nashville, Tennessee, police arrested three juveniles 12 to 16 on criminal homicide charges after singer Kyle Yorlets was shot and killed, apparently for refusing to hand over his keys, according to authorities. Screen grab from YouTube

Five children face criminal homicide charges after a singer in Nashville, Tennessee, was fatally shot behind his home, according to authorities.

Nashville police said in a news release on Friday that the juveniles — ranging in age from 12 to 16 — came upon local musician Kyle Yorlets in an alley outside his home on Thursday afternoon and stole his wallet.

Next the five juveniles told Yorlets, 24, to give up the keys to his car, police said. Detectives suspect that, when Yorlets wouldn’t surrender the keys, he was shot and killed. Police said all five suspects were in a stolen Chevrolet pickup when they saw Yorlets.

After Yorlets was shot he managed to get back to his house, but wasn’t found until roughly an hour later by one of his roommates — and he was then taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center and pronounced dead, the Tennessean reports.

Yorlets’ band, Carveton, said in a statement posted to Facebook that the group “lost our brother, best friend, and bandmate.”

“We are in a state of shock and are having to grasp the reality that is now in front of us. We are heartbroken,” the band wrote. “Our condolences for his family and loved ones and all the lives that he touched. We will never forget Kyle, and though he is gone too soon his legacy is here to stay.”

A memorial service hosted by the band is set for Monday afternoon at Belmont University, which Yorlets graduated from, according to police

A GoFundMe page to help Yorlets’ family has raised more than $35,000 from nearly 900 people in the last two days.

“He’s an absolute, absolute innocent victim,” said police spokesman Don Aaron, according to the Tennessean. “None of the five individuals is a stranger to the system or this police department.”

Bystanders had told officers they spotted “several young persons after the homicide run to a pickup truck,” according to the Tennessean.

Thursday evening, police tracked the five suspects down at a WalMart store in West Nashville, the news release said. By that point, they had abandoned the Chevrolet pickup and were driving a stolen Hyundai Santa Fe, according to police.

“A loaded nine millimeter pistol, which had been reported stolen, was recovered from them,” police said. “A second loaded and stolen pistol was recovered from inside the store.”

Two of the suspects were boys, and three were girls, according to the Washington Post. 

Prosecutors are hoping to try all of the children in adult court, the Tennessean reports. But a lawyer representing the 12-year-old said in court that the girl cooperated once she was in police custody, and should be tried in juvenile court.

Assistant District Attorney Stacy Miller said the child should be tried in adult court, according to the Tennessean, saying in juvenile court Friday that “she didn’t run from there, and she didn’t call the police … She’s as guilty as they are.”

McClatchy is not identifying the minors because it is not yet known if they will face trial in adult or juvenile court.

Yorlets is a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press. He helped start the band in 2014 and moved to Nashville in 2016, graduating from Belmont in 2017.

Local TV station WZTV asked a friend of Yorlets what she would say to his suspected killers.

“You don’t know what you’ve done,” Amirah Tayyun said, according to the station. “You don’t know how many people you have impacted in this. You have no idea what you have done. You will not understand what you have done until you are sitting by yourself in a jail cell looking out the window. For the next however many years of your life. I honestly feel sorry for that.”

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.