Henrico family remembers girls basketball coach killed in New Year’s Eve murder-suicide


HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The start of a new year brought heartache for one Henrico County family that is grieving after losing their loved one in an apparent murder-suicide. 

Police say 25-year-old Michelle Rawlings was shot and killed Monday night at Kings Point Apartments complex by her ex-boyfriend, 24-year-old Tyshawn Buckner, who then turned the gun on himself.

8News has learned that Rawlings was an assistant coach for Atlee High School’s girls’ basketball team. Her father, Michael Rawlings, is the head coach. 

Her family, now devastated, said she died because she was stepping away from an unhealthy relationship. 

“My daughter Michelle was a beautiful soul,” the 25-year-old’s father, Michael Rawlings, told 8News. “She was smart, bright, she was driven. She had a great future in front of her.”

According to Rawlings’ family, their 25-year-old daughter was trying to end an unhealthy relationship, but her ex-boyfriend wasn’t ready to let her go.

“And so I think he just couldn’t go on,” Michael Rawlings explained. “He had nowhere to turn to, so his option was the one that he chose, and unfortunately he chose to take my daughter with him.”

Loved ones say things were rocky between Michelle and her 24-year-old ex, who apparently did not work while she held multiple jobs.

As a mental health counselor and assistant girls basketball coach, family members say Michelle tried to help Buckner, but after nearly three years, recognized it was time to move on. 

“She just had a kind heart,” Michelle’s sister, Nicole Rawlings said. “If she knew that she could help, she would do what she could to help and, you know, that’s what kind of hurts about all of this.”

Michelle’s mother, Brenda Rawlings, added, “She was strong enough, he just wasn’t, so I thank God for my daughter.

“She was a beautiful girl with a great future and she will forever be our angel.”

Monday night’s deadly shooting occurred at around 7:30 p.m. in the 3600 block of Kings Point Court. Officers discovered the bodies after being called to conduct a welfare check. 

Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent for Hanover County Public Schools, released the following statement regarding Rawlings’ tragic death:

“We are heartbroken to learn of Michelle Rawlings’ tragic death and extend our deepest sympathy to her family and loved ones.  We are grateful for her dedicated service to Hanover County Public Schools and the positive impact that she had on our students’ lives.  We will provide extra support to our students and staff as they return to school tomorrow and begin dealing with this incredibly sad loss” — Dr. Michael Gill

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