VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A community is mourning after police said a U.S. Navy chief petty officer got into a fight, then was fatally injured in what is believed to be an intentional crash.
Friday, Tyler Murphy’s organs were donated while friends and family gathered at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
“The biggest thing about Tyler was his personality and smile,” said Stephen Murphy about his son.
Stephen said he and his son were best friends and would talk every day on the phone before work.
He told News 3 his son had a passion for people, his community and the nation he wanted to serve and protect.
“I’ve never met someone who is completely unwilling to quit. It didn’t matter what the task was, what the goal was. He was relentless in pursuing that,” said Mike Provost of his friend. "I know the warrior's tribute that he just received in the hallway at Sentara is exactly what he would’ve wanted and it was absolutely fitting."
Growing up in a military family, 40-year-old Tyler devoted his life to protecting others and served as a U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer with Special Warfare Combat Craft Crewmen. He worked as a Special Warfare Boat Operator Chief.
Friends say he was about to be stationed near D.C.
His dad said Murphy was born in Germany. With both parents being military, his family lived in England, Hawaii, Las Vegas and Omaha while he grew up.
Gray Livingston was a close friend of Murphy's. He and his wife lived with Murphy off and on for years in the Chic’s Beach community.
Livingston said throughout COVID, they had a tight-knit group of friends who would hang out together and have fun. He described Murphy as an awesome person with a fantastic personality.
After being deployed, Murphy had been staying with the Livingstons, who said they had just celebrated Murphy’s favorite holiday — the 4th of July.
“A patriot, warrior, brother, son and friend. He was all that to many of us,” Livingston said.
Mike Strock said Murphy became a best friend and a younger brother-like figure to him. He said they both learned a lot from each other.
Friday, the halls at Sentara were lined with his teammates and loved ones for an honor walk as his organs were being donated.
A hospital official says this is a tradition they do for organ donors and veterans who die in their hospitals. They also put up a special flag outside the hospital.
His dad said his life was devoted to protecting and giving and in the end, he was able to give the gift of life to someone else through his organs.
Virginia Beach Police say in the early morning hours of July 5th, there was a dispute between Murphy and Joshua Robinson.
According to police, the incident took place in the 3700 block of Shore Drive shortly after Murphy and Robinson left CP Shuckers. During the course of the dispute, Robinson allegedly struck Murphy with his vehicle.
Police also said after being struck by Robinson’s vehicle, Murphy was taken to Sentara Leigh Hospital by Robinson and Lindsey Chapman. He was later taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he died from his injuries a day later.
Robinson was charged with malicious assault and Chapman was charged with accessory after the fact, prior to Murphy's death. Police say Chapman was in the vehicle at the time of the malicious assault, failed to report the incident and allegedly helped conceal the facts.
Due to Murphy's death, Robinson and Chapman may face enhanced charges. The two are currently being held in the Virginia Beach Jail.
“Murph is the type of guy where he would drive around Chic's Beach or Virginia Beach and hand out pre-made packages with food and toiletries to homeless people. That’s the kind of man Tyler Murphy was,” Provost said.
Friends say the Ohio State graduate flew out to give motivational speeches to student-athletes. He was also a CrossFit Coach and a mentor working to inspire people around him, with friends of all ages everywhere he went.
“A father couldn’t be more proud of a son like I am of him,” said Stephen Murphy.
The Navy released information about his awards and honors, which included enlisted Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman, Free Fall Parachutist, Small Craft Insignia, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), Good Conduct Medal (2), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3), and Pistol Expert.