Community rallies around family of slain security guard

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The community is rallying around the family of a security guard who was shot and killed Thanksgiving morning. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Evans)
The community is rallying around the family of a security guard who was shot and killed Thanksgiving morning. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Evans)

Members of the community have rallied around the family of a 42-year-old security guard who was shot and killed early Thanksgiving morning.

A GoFundMe donation page created after Richard “Bird” Irvin was shot and killed outside the County Grill & Steakhouse in York County has raised over $8,800 from 165 people in five days.

Kevin Evans, a close friend of Irvin who met him through mutual friends and events where Irvin worked, created the GoFundMe page.

“Anyone who knows Bird knows he would give the shirt off his back for anyone who needed it,” Evans said. “I looked at it like, if we can take just one thing away from his mom and dad, if we can take just the financial side away and let them focus on mourning, that’s what we need to do.”

Evans had raised $8,815 of a $10,000 goal by 5:30 p.m. Tuesday night.

“I had to bury my mom last November and I know how much money it costs when you’re not expecting to bury a loved one,” Evans said. “The money just eats away at you.”

Evans plans to meet with Irvin’s parents for lunch on Friday, where he will hand over the check.

On Wednesday morning, police located and arrested Coleston Ryan Lewis, 26, of Newport News, who is believed to have shot Irvin around 2 a.m. Thursday while being escorted out of a tent party in the restaurant’s parking lot, located in the 1200 block of George Washington Memorial Highway.

Irvin was working as a private armed security guard at the party, according to York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office Lt. Dennis Ivey.

Lewis fled the scene, Ivey said, and Irvin died from his injuries.

Lewis is charged with murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Although Irvin, nicknamed “Bird” for his height and his “bird’s eye view” over the room, did not have a wife or any children, he spent his entire life protecting those around him, Evans said.

“Bird was always working security,” he said. “If you knew him, that was his role. That was his thing in life. … He just really cared about the people that were in the clubs he worked in.”

Irvin’s mother, Peggy, has also created a donation campaign with a $1,000 goal on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

This post has been updated to reflect that Lewis was found and arrested by authorities, an event that occurred after the article was first published.