Felix Tyler: Who Was He? How Did He Die?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Body Cam: Armed Response’ chronicles how Felix Tyler armed himself with a gun and held three hostages, including a minor, inside a Covington, Tennessee, business in early March 2022. The episode features interviews with several police officers and SWAT team members as they discuss how they handled the hostage situation. So, who is Felix, and how did he meet his end? Let’s find out.

Who Was Felix Tyler?

On March 10, 2022, the Covington Police Department received a 911 call around 5:22 PM that stated a gunman had taken three hostages, including a small child, at Dean’s Tax Service. The business is on Highway 51 at Bert Johnson Avenue in Covington in Tipton County, Tennessee. When the emergency respondents arrived at the crime scene, they called in for assistance from the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office. One of the females who had placed the 911 call was near the locked door and informed the police about the situation through the glass pane.

After further assessing the severity of the situation, the police officers requested the assistance of a hostage negotiations team and a Tipton County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) SWAT team. The negotiators tried to establish an open channel with the gunman while a sniper of the SWAT team positioned himself on a car’s roof around 50 yards from the business. The officers by the front door successfully contacted the woman on her phone, and she told them she had a chance to crawl and open the door.

While the officers initially discouraged her, given the gunman’s erratic behavior, the woman informed them he and the other woman were arguing inside a cubicle at the back of the store. After receiving a green signal from the law enforcement officials, she unlocked the door and rushed out with assistance from the Covington Police Department. After she escaped, she informed the authorities the gunman was named Felix Tyler, 42, and the female victim still inside was his girlfriend and the business’s owner, Pamela Dean.

Tipton County Sheriff’s Office’s Captain John Weatherly stated Felix and Pamela had been in a relationship, with the latter allegedly desiring a break-up. Pamela’s father, Larry Dean, remarked, “He had been giving her a whole lot of problems, and I always told her, ‘Look, if y’all can’t get along, you need to separate.'” However, Felix was upset about the separation and argued with her at gunpoint. Reports claimed he exhibited a pattern of domestic violence and was arrested twice in Shelby County but never convicted.

How Did Felix Tyler Die?

The police established contact with Felix, and the hostage negotiations team continually communicated with him throughout the night into the early morning hours until he cut all communications. After several hours of unsuccessful attempts to contact him, the SWAT team introduced a chemical agent into the building. However, the authorities could not bring out Felix or Pamela. Law enforcement officials attempted a rescue operation, and the SWAT members exchanged multiple rounds of gunfire with Felix to extract the hostage.

Image Credit: Action News 5

During the rescue operation, one of the SWAT team members, Deputy Gene Molder, was shot and suffered a gunshot wound to the right arm and torso. His colleagues extracted the wounded officer and rendered medical aid. The negotiators attempted to unsuccessfully establish further contact with Felix until the gunman exited the barricaded store during the daybreak on March 11. The SWAT sniper, Deputy Zachary Antle, successfully incapacitated Felix as the officers spotted Pamela crawling toward the front door.

Pamela exited the doorway, and the officers rushed her to the awaiting Fire and EMS personnel for medical attention. Meanwhile, the SWAT team entered the building and again encountered the gunman, where he was subsequently killed. Jack Howell, the interim chief of the Covington Police Department, stated, “During the time of the negotiations, he said numerous times that he was going to kill her.” YWCA of Greater Memphis Executive Director Marquiepta Odom said the hostage situation displayed the tell-tale signs of abusers.

Marquiepta Odom added, “Whenever someone says ‘I will kill you, hurt you,’ it’s almost, in the beginning, we have to make that decision that I have to get out of this situation. It goes back to power and control and that manipulation, as to say, ‘If I cannot have you, no one else can.'” Sheriff Shannon Beasley commended the heroic efforts of the injured Deputy Molder, the SWAT team, and other law enforcement officials for their continual 14-hour rescue operation. She also wished for the speedy recovery of all the hostages.

Pamela Dean rescued

Sheriff Beasley added, “We tried our best to save her (Pamela) sooner. However, Tyler had other plans that hindered our efforts. Had Deputy Molder not been shot and our team not made the decisions they made during the rescue efforts, that bullet would have likely been for the hostage. And lastly, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Felix Tyler. No matter the decisions Tyler made from beginning to end, his family too went through pain watching the events unfold and are now dealing with the aftermath.”

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