Remembering Columbus State University student killed in 2019

The family of Dontrell Williams held a candlelight vigil and balloon release Friday evening to remember the Army veteran
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 11:18 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Three years ago, a Columbus gas station clerk was gunned down on the job. Tonight, family and friends of Dontrell Williams came together for a candlelight vigil and balloon release in his honor as they continue to call for justice in his murder.

William’s mother tells me she’s simply been tired, continuously searching for answers in hopes of justice for her son’s murder. His best friend Jarred says he’ll never forget finding out he lost his best friend while he was inside a gas station.

“It’s been very hard and very tiresome. Trying to be as patient as we can, as far as the justice system. But we miss them every day,” said Williams’ mother Tanya Weaver.

Police say the CSU junior was gunned down while on duty at the Circle K on Forrest Road in 2019. Keeping his legacy alive three years later, family and friends held a balloon release at the site of the crime Friday evening.

“Every time Drake would drop a new album, me and him would just drive around and listen to it and then kind of be critics on the album. So that’s something I think about all the time especially when there’s new music out. I just miss getting his opinion and his take on it,” said Williams’ best friend Jarred Tompkins.

The suspect charged with murder for Williams’ death is Daequavian Solomon. Williams’ mother says she hopes he’ll appear in court for her son’s tragic death soon.

“I do call the DA’s office every other week and speak to someone,” said Weaver.

Tompkins says he’ll never forget when he found out his friend was killed.

“I was going to work and our other best friend, Mike called me frantically and was like ‘Trell was killed last night.’ He jumped straight to the point,” said Tompkins who says he was at a gas station when he got the call.

“I just couldn’t believe what he was telling me and I was at a gas station. And I’ll never forget because I was waiting to go to the bathroom and I ended up leaving the gas station without even going to the restroom because I just couldn’t think straight,” said Tompkins.

After that, he packed his bags and moved away with his wife for two years.

“Gun violence is just ridiculously out of control not just here, but everywhere. But I just felt like in Columbus -- it personally affected me. And I just didn’t want to -- I didn’t -- I was afraid to raise a family here,” said Tompkins.

He says he’s still grieving the loss.

“Sorry. I don’t mean to get emotional. But, my son’s basically going to grow up without the uncle that he needed, you know, or that he would’ve had. So I really just try to shape my decisions based on the life that he’s not going to get to live,” said Tompkins.

Williams’ mother says she wants to have a remembrance walk for other families who have lost loved ones to gun violence at the end of October. We will keep you all posted with the latest updates on this case.