The security guard who was shot and killed following a heated argument about wearing a face mask inside a store in Michigan was being mourned by his family and remembered a loving father and husband who was a positive influence in his community. Calvin Munerlyn’s uncle defended his nephew as an innocent victim of a horrible circumstance in the Family Dollar store in Flint, a city about an hour north of Detroit.
“My nephew lost his life trying to help save lives, and he wasn’t doing nothing wrong. He was doing something positive, which is something he always do,” Ramon Munerlyn told local news outlet ABC 12.
The unfortunate scene unfolded Friday afternoon when the 43-year-old father of nine asked a customer to cover her face with a mask while inside the store. She was accompanied by her mother, Sharmel Teague, who was wearing a protective face mask used to guard against both contracting as well as spreading the coronavirus. That fateful request sparked an argument with Teague, who Munerlyn told the cashier not to serve. That prompted Teague to spit in Munerlyn’s face, leave the store with her only to return a short while later with her husband, Larry Teague, who shot Munerlyn in the head. Sharmel Teague was arrested but her husband and their son, Ramonyea Bishop, were still at large as of Tuesday morning. The daughter was not immediately charged.
That episode played out under the backdrop of a larger statewide protest against Michigan’s COVID-19 guidelines that include the contentious argument over personal protective equipment like face masks. The Detroit Free-Press noted that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer‘s executive order says that “everyone must wear a mask in all enclosed public spaces to halt the spread of COVID-19.”
Calvin Munerlyn uncle suggested that his nephew’s killing will reverberate through the family for a long time.
“They just don’t know what they did to our family,” Ramon Munerlyn said of the suspects who have all been charged with first-degree murder. “His kids is without a father. His wife is without a husband, and he’s my sister’s only child.”
A tweet from someone who identified herself as Calvin Munerlyn’s sister posted images of him as well as the three suspects.
ABC 12 reported that Calvin Munerlyn’s nickname was “Duper” and that he “helped people with weight training and danced with senior citizens at Berston Field House and was honored as ‘Parent of the Year’ at Madison Academy in Burton, where his children attend school.”
Madison Academy’s principal said “the Munerlyns are our family” and that Calvin Muneryn was always there for the school.
“When we need something, we are going to call ‘Duper,'” Christel Drew told ABC 12. “When we need somebody to do security at graduation, we need somebody to come up fix his famous oodles, so he would come up during lunch and fix those. Fundraisers, whatever it is that we need, Mr. Munerlyn was there for the kids.”
That was precisely the type of person Calvin Munerlyn was, his uncle said.
“He was just a family man and his kids, and his wife, and his mama, they was his pride and joy,” Ramon Munerlyn said. “No matter what they did, he cherished the ground he walked on.”
Despite the egregious nature of the killing, local authorities were reportedly only offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to the whereabouts of the two accused murderers who had not been captured as of Tuesday morning.
However, a crowdfunding effort began to help pay for Calvin Munerlyn’s funeral and benefit his family. As of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe page had raised nearly $200,000 despite only having an initial goal of $10,000.