Mother Mourns Son Shot to Death by White Neighbor

Tyrique Hudson’s mother will never hear her phone ring with the special Family Guy ringtone set for her only child. Hudson, or TJ as his mother Tonya Burch calls him, was shot to death in the stairwell of his Glen Burnie apartment building outside of Baltimore, Maryland on April 15. Just two months earlier, the 22-year-old was denied a protective order against his neighbor, who is now accused of killing him.

In the application for a protective order, Hudson said 53-year-old James Allan Verombeck threatened to kill him during a bizarre interaction at their apartment complex in February. Burch said she encouraged her son to call the police, who recommended that he seek a protective order.

Three days after filing an application, a Baltimore District Court judge on temporary assignment in Anne Arundel County denied his request and said Hudson did not meet the “burden of proof,” according to the Capital Gazette. The North Carolina native was found dead from gunshot wounds in the Colonial Square Apartments. Verombeck was arrested and charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, using a firearm in a felony violent crime, and reckless endangerment, the Capital Gazette reported.

In an interview with The North Star, Burch described her son as a “joyous, happy child” who loved people and had a “big, big heart.” Hudson graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in December 2017 with a degree in computer science and moved to Glen Burnie, Maryland to work with Northrop Grumman.

Burch said that her son was friendly with everyone he met. Hudson told his mother about his strange interaction with Verombeck, which included a throat-slitting gesture. It was the first time the 22-year-old had met his neighbor. Hudson was equally frustrated by the judge’s decision to deny his protection order request, his mother told The North Star. Burch said her son was stunned to find out that Verombeck had made accusations against him and was “fearful” of what could happen. However, she noted that her son and his neighbor had limited interactions after the first incident.

“It was very shocking to hear that [he] took my son’s life without confrontation and my son didn’t do anything to [him],” Burch said. Prosecutors said Verombeck confessed to fatally shooting Hudson. Jail records show that Verombeck is being held without bail at Jennifer Road Detention Center in Annapolis. Verombeck is a grounds worker for Anne Arundel County Schools and suffers from schizophrenia, pretrial services said at his bail hearing, according to the Baltimore Sun. There are no future court dates listed in his jail records.

Burch said that the day of her son’s murder, she had texted him in the morning to say hello and wish him a nice day. She thought nothing when he did not respond, but began to suspect something had happened when a colleague mentioned that there was a shooting where her son lived.

A friend who lived nearby Hudson told Burch to reach out to her local police department for more information. She finally learned her only child, who she called her “best friend,” was dead hours after the shooting took place. The apartment complex failed to reach out to her until days after Hudson’s death. “My heart is crushed. I miss him so much,” Burch told The North Star. She said she has been trying to stay strong in the weeks following his death, but misses hearing his voice and his special Stewie Griffin ringtone. “This is a nightmare. I don’t want this to ever, ever happen to anyone else’s child,” she said.

Burch said she wants justice for her son and for his life to be remembered. “I believe that all lives matter,” she said. “There are more TJs out there. I want to make sure his legacy is remembered. I want to keep this from happening to anyone’s child.” Hudson had a “great future” ahead of him, and he had impacted many people’s lives, his mother said. She hopes that he will impact just as many lives in death.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.