VIRGINIA BEACH — A man found bloodied and bruised in an apartment complex for homeless residents died of blunt force head injuries, officials say.
The death of 59-year-old Tyrone Hicks was classified as “undetermined” by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, spokeswoman Donna Price said.
When a death is classified as “undetermined” it means that the medical examiner cannot conclusively say that the person’s death was natural, an accident, a suicide or a homicide, according to the OCME’s website.
Although no one has been arrested in connection with Hicks’ death, it is still under criminal investigation by the Virginia Beach Police Department, said spokeswoman Linda Kuehn in an email.
Police found Hicks dead on the floor of a Cloverleaf Apartments unit around 11:30 a.m. on May 12, according to documents filed in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.
Hicks had a bruise and blood on his right eye and bruises across his body. Police also found blood on the floor and on a chair in the apartment, according to court records.
Although Hicks was a Cloverleaf Apartments resident, he wasn’t in his apartment when he died.
His body was found in the apartment leased to a resident neighbors identified as Hicks’ girlfriend. According to police, a woman who also lives in the building was at the girlfriend’s apartment on May 11 around 10 p.m. when she saw the couple get into a fight.
The neighbor reported watching Hicks’ girlfriend grab him by the shirt and throw him down onto the hard floor where he hit his head. She said Hicks was unconscious for some time, and that she’d witnessed a “pattern of abuse” in their relationships, court documents state.
When interviewed by police, Hicks’ girlfriend said they used illegal drugs in the apartment the night before he died. When police searched the unit they found medication, a spoon with residue on it and remnants of marijuana, court records state.
Cloverleaf Apartments is a 60-unit building located at 964 S. Military Highway. It is run by Virginia Supportive Housing, a non-profit organization that helps homeless people rent permanent housing, VSH Executive Director Allison Bogdanovíc said during a May interview.
The cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Chesapeake contribute funding toward the Cloverleaf Apartments. Additional funding sources include loans and private grants, according to the VSH website.
People pay $50 or 30 percent of their wages or disability to lease apartments. People usually lease the apartments for four years on average, Bogdanovíc said.
In 2016, VSH helped more than 1,500 homeless Virginians get housing in 15 properties and scattered locations across the state. Thirty-one percent of those people were from Hampton Roads, according to the VSH 2016 annual report.
Although Bogdanovíc declined to comment on the status of any particular resident, she said that VSH has a zero-tolerance policy on drug use in apartments and that those caught with illegal substances could be evicted.
“Any illegal substances are illegal in the buildings, too,” Bogdanovíc said.
Bogdanovíc said that the buildings do not have security guards, but there is always a VSH employee in the complex. During the day there are desk clerks who buzz people inside, and a third-shift employee lives in an apartment in the building and monitor’s activity at night.
Southside Daily is not publishing the names of Cloverleaf Apartments residents who are involved in this incident because it is part of an ongoing investigation by the Virginia Beach Police Department.
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