NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Family members are still grieving after a shooting Saturday morning claimed two lives, including Bri’yanna Williams.
Williams family said the 21-year-old was a free spirit, kind, and a source of strength during times of strife.
“She was the one to try and keep us together,” said her brother, Malquan Dixon. “She was the glue to our family.”
Friday evening, Williams’ father said they sat down for a chat. Little did he know it would be the last time the two ever spoke, and he’d be the last family member to see her alive.
“She was just like, ‘Daddy, I’m going to spend the night with a friend.’ And we had a little daddy daughter chit chat,” Elton Williams remembered. “I said ‘Ok sweetie, well, be careful.’ I told her to give me a call later on.”
Williams’ sister Arrion said she began to worry Saturday morning when Bri’yanna stopped returning her family’s texts and calls. Word of a shooting began to spread.
“If she doesn’t answer anybody else’s calls, she’s going to answer my daddy’s calls or call my daddy. When she didn’t answer the phone or anything I said I wonder… you know,” Arrion said.
Dixon said he was at work when police called him Saturday. He and the family immediately drove to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, waiting for what felt like hours, only to find Bri’yanna had died before getting to the hospital.
“Just like literally, she was my whole heart,” said Dixon. “That was my heart. That was my other half.”
The death was so sudden. Williams’ family is still recovering, seeking justice.
“There needs to be accountability for everything that has happened,” said mother, Adrian Dixon. “Because she was innocent. She was only there to help somebody.”
Bri’yanna’s parents say she had gone to comfort her friend after something upset her, who was another one of the shooting victims.
They believe Bri’yanna was in the wrong place at the wrong time — and go over what they could have done to help in their minds day after day.
“She was only 21,” her mother said. “She never got to experience life to fulfillment. She never got to fulfill her life, and I just want justice.”
Bri’yanna’s family says they’re holding a candle light vigil this coming Saturday. They also have a GoFundMe raising money for funeral costs.