‘Forever broken’: Families of Dylan Lyons, T’Yonna Major bond over loss, call for change

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Two Central Florida families are now connected forever as members of a club no one wants to be in: those who’ve lost loved ones to gun violence.

“We’ve become brothers,” Dylan Lyon’s father Gary said of T’Yonna Major’s father Tokiyo, the pair hugging as they sobbed.


Dylan and T’Yonna both died last Wednesday after Orange County deputies say they were shot by the same man – 19-year-old Keith Moses.

Deputies said the 24-year-old News 13 reporter and 9-year-old third grader were shot within minutes of each other in Pine Hills on Feb. 22, two of five people Moses is accused of shooting in five hours.

Read: Fundraisers created to support families of slain reporter Dylan Lyons, 9-year-old T’yonna Major

Lyons was on assignment reporting on an earlier shooting Moses was the suspect in. T’Yonna was inside her home with her mother, who was also shot.

Their families spoke publicly on their losses for the first time Thursday with their attorney, Mark NeJame.

Read: Deputies release minute-by-minute timeline of shootings that killed woman, reporter & girl

“I’m so sorry for my son,” Gary Lyons said, overcome with emotion. “I wish I could have taken the bullet.”

They remembered Dylan as compassionate, devoted and immpecibly dressed.

“He’s a devoted son and it’s impossible to describe the relationship he had with my wife,” Gary said laughing between tears. “I was often the third wheel to them.”

Read: UCF students create memorial to honor slain TV journalist Dylan Lyons

“When Dylan was killed. I died too,” his mother Beth said, clutching a pillow Dylan had gifted her with their picture on it. “I just feel like I died too. As a mother, he was supposed to bury me. I wasn’t supposed to bury him.”

Dylan’s fiance Casey said she’s “forever broken” having lost the love of her life.

T’Yonna’s parents, Brandi and Tokiyo Major, remembered the 9-year-old as a caring soul who loved gymnastics.

Watch: ‘He loves journalism’: UCF professor shares legacy of reporter killed in Pine Hills mass shooting

“My poor baby. She was my heart, my angel. I’m going to miss her so much,” Brandi said before being overcome with emotion, leaving the room.

Tokiyo said T’Yonna was his mini-me and fishing buddy.

“She was my everything. I just want the world to know that. She was my world,” he said.

Read: Affidavit: Man offered accused mass shooter a ride moments before first Pine Hills shooting

Both families agreed that something needs to be done to curb gun violence in America.

“Last week it was our family,” Gary said, “it could be yours next week.”

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Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.

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