COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Family and friends said their final farewell to Dontrell Williams on Monday.
He’s the convenience store clerk, CSU student, and army veteran gunned down a week ago at the Circle K on Forrest Road in Columbus.
“I understand he wanted that late-night shift so he could attend school during the day,” said Cherish Chambers said.
Hundreds of people gathered for his funeral service. It was standing room only at the church. Then, at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery, dozens stood by with tears in their eyes as the Williams received his military honors.
Williams entered the U.S. Army in March 2014 and was honorably discharged with a medical disability in Nov.r 2016. He received basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina then moved to the Peach State and was stationed at Fort Gordon. During his time in service, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.
The services drew a crowd that was larger than friends and family expected.
“You know, to know Dontrell touched that many lives, it gives me a little bit of peace," said Jarred Tompkins.
“I mean if you look at this turnout itself, there are people here from all creeds and it’s amazing to see how a young black man impacted just a different variety of people’s lives. I took pride in knowing I was friends with a man like that," said Mike Barksdale.
In addition to family members, friends, and coworkers, you could even spot detectives from the Columbus Police Department’s Homicide Unit in the crowd paying their respects. Red ribbons sat on many chests in honor of Williams’ favorite color.
“He was a nice cool person,” Derelle Carter Jr. said. “He was funny, he would make me laugh, we would play fight, we would talk trash to each other.”
On the same day Williams is laid to rest, police announced an increase in the reward for information leading to the arrest of the masked murderer.
Columbus police said the reward for information leading to the capture of the person who killed Williams is now $10,000.
Police Maj. J.D. Hawk said an anonymous donor originally gave $5,000 last week.
“I just want to say thank you to whoever put up the money," Tompkins said. "I have no idea who you are but if this leads to an arrest, you’re going to give so many people peace. So thank you.”
“That kind of instills hope back into me for these people of Columbus,” Barksdale said. “It’s kind of showing me there are people out there who really want this guy caught, so it gives me that bit of hope. This will for sure lead to justice.”
The investigation is still active and police are still looking for the person who killed Dontrell Williams.
As for Monday’s activities, it wasn’t necessarily a quiet affair, but a celebration of life including singing and catching up with loved ones from all across the southeast.