Crime Stoppers Feb. 8: Person of interest ID'ed in double homicide

Birmingham Police detectives on Tuesday identified a man who is described as a person of interest in a double homicide from December 20, 2010.

Tyler Griffin, pictured in this article, was identified as the owner of{}a Pontiac Bonneville and is believed to be connected to the shooting deaths of Julian Tarver and Samuel Arthur Shelby.

Griffin has not been charged in the crime.{} But detectives need to hear his side of the story.{} And Crime Stoppers needs to hear from anyone who may have more information on the double homicide.

Detectives believe the shooting of Tarver and Shelby was a case of mistaken identity.

Police have developed information that two men broke into Griffin's Pontiac Bonneville early on the morning of December 20.{} The car was parked behind a house on Avenue N, near Bessemer Road.

One of the men involved in the car break-in had dreadlocks, detectives said, and he got away from the scene in a Cadillac.{} Detectives were told the Bonneville's owner went in search of the men who had broken into his car.

That's where Tarver and Shelby factor into the case.{} Tarver had dreadlocks.{} And he was driving a Cadillac.{} Shelby was his passenger.

The men were returning from Christmas shopping at a local Walmart when they were ambushed and killed.

Police believe the killer mistook Tarver and Shelby for the men who had broken into the Bonneville.{} In reality, detectives said, Tarver and Shelby had nothing to do with the car break-in and were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"A lot of times, unfortunately, some of our victims are really not victims.{} In some kind of way, they play a part in some of what happens in the cases.{} These two guys here were just innocent victims," Detective Cynthia Morrow said.{} "These were real victims, and we just want to get justice for them."

While detectives have a lot of information on the case, they need to hear from someone who either saw something that night or has heard information about the crime since then.{} A little information can help detectives get warrants and get justice.

Police also said Griffin had not been seen in the neighborhood since the night of the crime.{} Crime Stoppers needs to hear about his whereabouts.{} Detectives would even like to hear from Griffin himself.

"We're dealing with a puzzle.{} And the detectives have started putting it together," Sergeant James Lewis said.{} "There's a piece that is missing.{} The piece is somebody coming forward saying, 'Yes, I know who did this.'"

If you can help in this case, you can call Crime Stoppers and remain anonymous.{} Crime Stoppers can be reached at (205) 254-7777.{} Caller ID is never used, and the call is not traced or recorded.

In addition to telephone tips, you can text a tip by texting the code 7777, along with your tip, to the word CRIMES.{} Or, you can submit an encrypted tip by going to and clicking on the "submit an online tip" link.

No matter which method you choose, you will remain anonymous.{} Crime Stoppers will give you a private code number, and if your tip leads to an arrest, you can use the code number to claim a cash reward.{} Even then, you will not have to give your name -- only the code number.

Crime Stoppers is a partnership between local law enforcement, the Birmingham Business Alliance and ABC 33/40.{} Together, our goal is to make our community a safer place to live and work.