Williams: ‘Great friend, great man’

Published 5:19 am Monday, June 1, 2009

By By MaryClaire Foster
To friends and family of the late Danny Williams, the legacy he leaves behind is one of a person who would do anything for you anytime you needed it.
Williams was shot by an Atmore police officer in the early morning hours on May 24 following a car chase that ended in the Walnut Hill, Fla. area. in which he was the driver. He died the following day at USA Medical Center from a gunshot wound to the head.
Williams’ mother, Barbara Skipper of Monroeville, said her son had a true zest for life and was a loving person.
Friend Kristi Kirby too spoke of Williams’ lively and giving spirit.
In fact, Kirby said recently Williams showed up to her and partner Crystal Clanton’s home with wood to build them a new floor and before that had come by to install plumbing to help with the animal rescue haven they operate.
Williams’ mother said while she is certain of the man her son was, there are still questions left unanswered about the circumstances surrounding his death.
A press release from the Atmore Police Department gave a series of events that, from their records, had Williams eluding officers after they attempted to pull over Williams when he was spotted running a stop sign and speeding.
The traffic violations occurred in the vicinity of a shots fired call, leading officers to question his involvement with it. The release states officers shot at the car following attempts by Williams to crash into the police vehicles on the road and run the officers over when they approached the vehicle after it was stuck in a field.
Skipper said there is a lack of understanding why Williams was shot and does not believe her son would have been trying to hurt anyone intentionally.
Skipper said she agreed her son was in the wrong for eluding the officers and acknowledged him having a drinking problem, which included having received a DUI. Williams had actually just recently been reissued his driver’s license from having it revoked due to the DUI.
Skipper described Williams just recently proudly showing off his license and insurance to drive and said his desire to not hurt his loved ones with another offense is probably what led him to try and escape being pulled over.
Skipper also said that Williams had no previous record of resisting arrest.
Skipper said a main point of contention with the incident is that the tires on the car Williams was driving do not appear to have been shot at.
Skipper again acknowledged she saw fault in her son’s actions, but believes they did not justify him being shot at.
The identification of the three officers involved in the incident has yet to be released. All three involved are on paid administrative leave.
The Escambia County Fla. Sheriff’s Department, the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are conducting an investigation into the incident. Authorities were seen Thursday afternoon in the field where the chase ended with metal detectors continuing their investigation.

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