Remembering Tonieo Spann

Our hearts are heavy at Avalon Village as we remember a hardworking young man who was part of our village and our construction team, helping to build the Homework House and make our community a better place. Tonieo Spann was hit and killed by a Detroit Police car in December while riding a bicycle at Oakland and Davison. According to news reports, the patrol car’s lights and sirens were on and the officer behind the wheel was rushing to provide backup at a scene in Highland Park around 11p.m. when Tonieo was hit and killed. Police said he may have been wearing headphones and may not have heard the sirens.

“Certainly it’s a tragic situation,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told the Detroit Free Press. “Our department will continue to conduct an internal investigation.”

Tonieo joined the Avalon Village team along with four other young men in June 2016. He was brought to us through a program called Empowerment Advocacy Group to work as a construction laborer with AKO Building Corporation. His work was so impressive, AKO eventually hired him as a full-time employee.

“Right away, Tonieo displayed a passion for the work and approached all assignments with enthusiasm,” says Gerrajh Surles, Avalon Village project engineer. “He was a leader among his peers and often had to be forced to take breaks during the workday.”

Just a few months ago, a video crew documenting construction caught Tonieo on camera expressing his love for our project and talking about the future. Click on the video player to hear his interview.

“Avalon Village will be a real beautiful place,” he said. “When it all gets done then we’ll all come together. The community’s going to all come together. It’s going to be beautiful. Everyone’s just going to help each other and the world’s going to change through this.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Tonieo’s family members and friends. We will honor his memory at Avalon Village as we complete the project he so enthusiastically helped us get started. Peace, Love and Healing Light.

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