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Picture of Tay Way also known as Lamonta Butcher, at 4th Street and McDonald Ave memorial.

Richmond Mourns Loss of Beloved Local Rapper Tay Way

on October 31, 2020

On September 18, a shooting in Richmond claimed the life of local rapper Tay Way, also known by his birth name Lamonta Butcher. Two other bystanders were injured in the shooting on 4th street and McDonald Ave, according to police. Sergeant Aaron Pomeroy of the Richmond Police Department said that investigators have identified two people of interest in this case and are continuing to follow up on leads.

The popular 29-year-old rapper, born and raised in Richmond, attended John F. Kennedy High School, and became a notable member of the local Bay Area hip hop artist community in 2016 after releasing his hit single “F*ck It Up.” 

As news of Tay Way’s death spread across social media, messages expressing condolences and reactions streamed in from fans, friends and loved ones alike. Many expressed his passing marked an incredible loss of a rising star in the local hip hop scene. While others mourned the life of yet another victim of gun violence in Richmond. Among them was Tay Way’s high school basketball coach Guthrie Brown Fleischman, who remembers Tay Way as Lamonta.

Brown Fleischman believes Tay Way had what it took to be a leader in the community. “He was going to be someone that people got behind, people looked up to him,” he said.

Picture of Tay Way, sporting jersey number 3 in front row, Basketball team picture 2007, provided by basketball coach Guthrie Brown Fleischman.

Though it was rap music and not basketball that he gravitated towards after high school, Brown believes it was his “charisma and magnetic personality” that allowed Tay Way to rise to the top of any endeavor he delved into. 

Learning that Tay Way had been fatally shot came as a complete surprise to Brown, but the circumstances surrounding his death was a painfully familiar one. 

“I’ve lost count at this point of how many of my former students have been victims of gun violence,” said Brown. Already this year, Tay Way is Brown’s third former-student to be killed by gunfire. 

“He was doing really well with his art but he still is within the context of a city where the resources aren’t there and where there’s this history of community trauma and community violence that everybody is living under,” said Brown, while emphasizing that the problem of gun violence “Is not unique to Richmond, these are crimes of poverty – community violence exists when there are lack of resources” 

The success of Tay Way’s career was in many ways was buoyed by community support from people in Richmond and across the Bay Area. 

In a 2018 interview, Tay Way opened up about how he gained support for his music in his own city, saying “It is being known in the neighborhood, and it’s just working and everybody believing you really come from it. And the whole community grabbed onto that and they all came together.”

This same community is now grieving his loss. The intersection where the shooting occurred has become a temporary memorial site for Tay Way, candles and flowers now decorate the sidewalk as many have come to pay their respects to one of Richmond’s own. 


  1. Sharon Alexander on October 31, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Please find out who did this to my son whom ever did this is some low lifes they dont have family that love them they some sorry as cowards that plays with guns go to the war with that stuff . i bet they hiding now but god dont like ugly and karma is a bitch so watch ur self u messed with the wrong one suckars

  2. Sharon Alexander on October 31, 2020 at 12:39 pm

    Why people are so jealous they can be stars to if they work at it instead of playing with guns you boys dont no enough ur mamas didnt teach u anythi g my son respected people he dont go around causing problems he just wanted to rap be writting lyrics since he was an elementary this is sad and i cant shake it the boys who did this stays and cresent park yall need god in yall life but u no what i no yall dont have love and your family thats why u hating on my son because he has love all around him but i bet everybody will remeber this .So turn urself and punks

    • Sharon Alexander on October 31, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      I need for richmond police department to get up and go get these punks they are and cresent park somwhere hiding saying damm to there self because they then messed up you rite .Dpnt play with guns you mite get hurt back at u u no who u are love u son god got u now

      • Steve-o on October 31, 2020 at 7:57 pm

        Sending our condolonces to you and your family in your time of mourning. Your son touched the lives of many here in the Bay Area and more. His name and legacy he created so young will always be remembered through the music he blessed us with. We are thankful he was not selfish and shared his talent with everyone in this world. Our prayers are with you.

        God Bless,
        True Fans From Your Neighbor City of Vallejo

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