OFFICER OF THE MONTH

Detective honored for locating suspect in homicide, robberies

benw@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 14, 2013 

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerCpl. Andrew Tyner has been named Officer of the Month for August by the Columbus Police Department.

Cpl. Andrew Tyner wasn't even assigned to investigate the robbery and homicide of Gold & Silver Trading Center manager Steve Toms, but strong leads kept crossing his path.

The information he received led to the arrest of Michael Jerome Johnson, who also was charged in other robberies. For his efforts in finding a suspect in the Nov. 16, 2011, armed robbery at 3717 Gentian Blvd., Tyner was selected as the August Officer of the Month at the Columbus Police Department.

Tyner, a 53-year-old detective in the Robbery and Homicide Unit at the department, said it's nice to be recognized, but he also likes the challenge.

"It is enjoyable work," he said. "It's just challenging. I think I enjoy the challenge particularly when you got a case like the one I was cited for."

With 27 years of service, Tyner was recognized by his supervisor, Sgt. Daniel Lyon. In the end, Tyner not only found a suspect in the killing of Toms, 63, but also one in the May 5, 2012, armed robbery at the Diamond Exchange, 4227 Victory Drive.

"Due to him not giving up on his leads that he developed, two serious cases were solved," Lyon said in his recommendation. "This is just one example of Cpl. Andrew Tyner's work and dedication to the police department."

Tyner was investigating the Diamond Exchange robbery when he was able to locate the vehicle used in the holdup. Although the vehicle was reported stolen before the robbery, a suspect was charged with the theft in Phenix City.

The theft suspect was ruled out in the Diamond Exchange robbery, but he was able to tie other suspects to the case. During the robbery, several guns and cash were taken. Some weapons were found and several suspects were arrested with the stolen property.

In following all leads, Tyner was able to build a case against Johnson for both the armed robbery of Diamond Exchange and the slaying of Toms.

"I kept developing leads on the Toms case, which I wouldn't have much to do with," Tyner said. "I talked to the guy working that case and they had their hands so full. He said just follow the leads and see where they take you."

A native of Hurtsboro, Ala., and graduate of Russell County High School, Tyner said he has worked in patrol, the DUI Task Force, Special Operations and the Tact Squad before getting a promotion to detective. He has always wanted to work in homicide investigations.

"When you start out as a police officer, you want to work in one area before you leave and that's drugs or homicide," he said. "I worked a little in drugs but didn't much like it. I have always enjoyed working the homicide cases."

The award is Tyner's second with the department.

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