The man who was fatally shot in Pioneer Square on Wednesday was known by friends and family for his warm smile, positive energy and dapper good looks.
Melvin V. “TayTay’ Dees, 22, died after he was shot several times near the intersection of Yesler Way and Second Avenue Extension around 10:40 a.m. Witnesses told police Dees had been in an argument with another man before he was shot. They also described seeing two men, both wearing hooded sweatshirts, running from the scene of the shooting.
No arrests have been made and police did not disclose on Friday whether the suspects had been identified.
Dees’ mother died when he was 13, said Lena Walker, of Minneapolis, who was an adoptive sister of the young man. Nevertheless, he was a good student and an accomplished athlete growing up in Minneapolis, she said.
After deciding not to go to college, he moved to Seattle to look for work and to try to get to know an older sister who had moved here, she said.
Walker said that she and Dees’ other Minnesota relatives were unaware that Dees and his older sister didn’t get along and he was kicked out of her house. Walker said her brother was not chronically homeless, but may have resorted to couch-surfing and staying with friends on occasion.
Dees’ fiancee, Samara “MayMay” Dees, 25, who said she had taken Dees’ name because they planned to marry, believes the motive for the shooting will turn out to be petty.
“Everybody liked him,” she said. “They loved his smile, his ambition and his positive energy. He was open-minded and wanted to learn, and he was never mean or confrontational.”
Walker agreed, saying, “He did not like conflict and was always trying to make peace. If there was a problem, he would walk away.”