Today, many community members woke up to the news of the senseless stabbing of Tyonne Johns, also known as “Chef Ty.”
Johns was a well-known local chef and owner of Chef Tyonne LLC, a catering business based in Silver Spring, MD. She also was the former chef at The Carriage House in Adams Morgan, located in Washington, D.C.
On Saturday, Johns was working a wedding reception at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park in Chantilly, VA. As the wedding was ending around 11 p.m., Johns was confronted by 19-year-old seasonal park employee Kempton Bonds. The employee was responsible for locking up the venue after the reception. According to police, Bonds confronted Johns about the foldable chairs she was loading up in her company truck. Bonds insisted the chairs belonged to the park authority and not Johns’ company. The argument escalated, resulting in Bonds stabbing Johns with a three-inch folding knife.
Johns was taken to a nearby hospital, where she later was pronounced dead. Bonds was quickly arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
After hearing the tragic news, many community members took to Facebook to offer their condolences and share their memories of Chef Ty.
“I was very saddened to hear about the sudden and senseless death of one of our own,” says Paul Marengo, Reel Affirmations’ Sponsorship Committee Coordinator, who worked with Johns on D.C. events. “Chef Ty was a no-nonsense, down-to-earth person you could grab a beer with. I will always remember her much like the meals she created—fun, funky, and outrageously imaginative.”
Friends close to her say she was a soft-spoken and laid-back person who took pride in supporting local LGBTQ events, programs, and entrepreneurs.
“We talked a lot about how important it is to support one another, be thankful for what we have, but at the same time keep striving for greater success. Those words are a true testament to who Tyonne was,” says Zekeera Belton, owner of A2Zee Events. “Her infectious smile, optimism, and talents will be greatly missed. She was definitely a star that shined brightest amongst the rest.”
Many friends and community members are labeling her death a hate crime. On a GoFundMe page created by Eraena Seymore to raise funds for Johns’ funeral, the description says, “CHEF Tyonne was senselesly killed on August 6, 2016 for standing up for what she believed. All too often our lives are taken away at the hands of those who deem our existence unnecessary.” The case is still being investigated.