In one of the saddest stories you’ll hear, Florida youth football coach David Williams was fatally shot this past Thursday shortly after his team finished practice.
Williams (seen above) was 43 and coached seven-year-olds for the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes Youth Football Club. After Williams conducted practice for his team at Mills Pond Park Thursday and treated his players to post-practice cookies and Gatorade, a group of men came up to him and fatally shot him. According to local ABC station WPLG, Williams was walking with a group of kids when the men approached, and he told the kids to run:
A representative with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes told Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston that Williams, 43, had been with the youth football league for 12 years and coached 7-year-olds.
Livingston was told that practice had just finished and Williams was walking with a group of children when they saw the gunmen approaching. Williams told them to run.
Police said several men approached Williams at the park before shots were fired. They were then seen running away from the park.
Fort Lauderdale police Detective Tracy Figone said Williams was shot multiple times and was pronounced dead while en route to Broward Health Medical Center.
The community is still in shock over the incident, and police have yet to find the people who shot the fallen coach. There were approximately 250 athletes, parents, 100 coaches and 150 cheerleaders in the park when the incident happened. The league is designed for children between the ages of 4 and 14. The incident left those in attendance affected.
“I just heard the shots, ran in that direction and found one of my coaches on the ground, fighting for his life,” said Jamaal Gaines, president of the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes youth football club.
The league decided to suspend this weekend’s games following the shooting. Williams was well-remembered by those who knew him, and the shooting also left concerns over this kind of violence around kids.
“I’m pretty sure that there were some kids who were leaving the park, who maybe didn’t see the incident itself, but may have seen him injured after it was done,” said Martin Maultsby, who was not at the field on Thursday night.
“Everything just happened so rapidly, and it’s not a norm or common, it’s an anomaly,” Maultsby said. “This is not the place for this kind of violence. I’ve been in [youth football] for over 20 years, and this is the first one.
“You may have [disputes] between the kids, maybe in the heat of the battle, but you don’t have anyone getting killed, or someone not waking up the next day,” Maultsby said.
Thus far, police have yet to be able to find those who shot Williams. Hopefully, someone will see this information and alert police and help the community find peace for this tragic situation.
Fort Lauderdale police ask anyone with information about the homicide to call Detective Orlando Almanzar, at 954-828-5546 or Detective Mark Breen, at 954-828-5708. Broward County Crime Stoppers will also accept information, at 954-493-8477. The organization pays up to $3,000 for tips that lead to an arrest.