No motive for the shooting was known, but the source said Connor's empty wallet was found outside the Mercedes. His family thinks that Connor, a father of a 3-year-old girl, was slain by someone who knew him.
"I know in my heart that he was set up," Karen Connor said. "It wasn't a friend. It was someone he met in passing, and they saw him as a target."
She suggested that because her son was wearing bedroom slippers, he wasn't planning to stay out long.
Further fueling the theory of a greedy gunman targeting Tyrek are his final postings on Instagram, in which he talked about his recent casino winnings in A.C. and showed off a TV that he had bought with the money.
"I just hope police find out what happened. I need some closure," Connor said. "I just want to know why someone felt the need to shoot my son in the head."
She described her son as a hard worker who stayed out of trouble while growing up in East Mount Airy. Tyrek had no police record, a law-enforcement source said.
He was also independent, living on his own in a house around the block from his mom's and supporting himself and his daughter through a job with DaVita Healthcare Partners.
It's for that girl, Imani Nicole Connor, that Karen Connor said she was most concerned.
"She's going to watch for him to come home, and he'll never walk through that door again," she said.
But in the hours following Tyrek's death, plenty of others did use that door. Some faces were familiar to her, others new, but all shared her grief.
"All this positive love I'm feeling lets me know I did something right, that I raised a good kid," she said.
"But I'm hurting . . . I'm hurting."