MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Relatives of a man shot to death on a Metro Transit bus in downtown Minneapolis said he was on the verge of restarting his life.

Tommie McCoy, 51, was killed last week as he stood near the doorway of a bus in downtown Minneapolis. The suspect, who also shot another man on the bus, is behind bars on murder charges.

Trahern Pollard says his cousin was loved by many.

“He was a beloved son, a beloved brother, a father, a grandfather. Everybody that knew him, you loved him.” Pollard said. “His mother wanted me to ensure that I stated that, you know, things that he loved to do was spend time with family.”

A Chicago man, McCoy was looking for a fresh start in Minnesota, and he had just secured new housing.

“He had just got back [last week] to finalize those things, which is why he was down at the 7th Street Garage because he was staying at the Salvation Army for the next couple of days,” Pollard said.

Tommie McCoy (credit: CBS)

But that bus trip downtown would be McCoy’s last, after 26-year-old Malcom Lessley shot him in the head moments after shooting another passenger in the face. Investigators haven’t released a motive.

“Senseless is an understatement,” Pollard said.

Last year, Lessley was found incompetent to continue court proceedings after he was accused of pointing a gun at the head of a cab driver. Pollard understands the struggles of mental illness after losing a son to suicide. He just hopes Lessley was getting the help he needed.

Another of McCoy’s relatives told WCCO over the phone that Lessley’s family has called them in Chicago to apologize. Pollard adds that McCoy’s mother also feels sad for Lessley.

“She’s truly a spiritual lady, and so I think that that was coming from a spiritual place, the fact that he’s a young African American man, 26 years old, and essentially his whole life is depleted with making this choice,” Pollard said. “As a family, what we do plan to do is just, you know, let justice prevail.”

A vigil will be held this Thursday at 5 p.m. near the bus stop where McCoy was killed.

Lessley is due back in court next month.

Jeff Wagner