Williams slaying unsolved one year later
DENVER, Colorado The first anniversary of Darrent Williams’ killing arrived Tuesday with his friends and family still awaiting justice in the senseless slaying of the 24-year-old Denver Broncos cornerback.Williams was killed when his limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year’s party at a club in downtown Denver.No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed. A man police have called a person of interest in Williams’ slaying was arrested in what prosecutors called the state’s largest gang takedown, and he faces federal drug charges.Safety Nick Ferguson wore Williams’ No. 27 jersey during pregame warmups Sunday when the Broncos ended their disappointing season with a win over the Minnesota Vikings.”I want to make sure nobody forgets the situation,” Ferguson said. “It has been a full year since his death and arrests haven’t been made. I wanted to keep it on the minds of the players, organization and fans. And the people out there trying to track down these guys. To let them know it’s been a year and so let’s put the pedal to the metal and let’s bring closure to this.”With the specter of gang involvement, however, it’s no surprise a year has passed without an arrest, Ferguson said.”I can understand the people that don’t want to come forward,” he said. “There is a saying in Miami that snitches get stitches. So people are afraid to talk.”Williams’ mother, Rosalind Williams of Fort Worth, Texas, said the family understands the difficulty in getting witnesses to cooperate but has faith that the killer will be charged and convicted.Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said he trusts charges will be brought soon, and police insist the case hasn’t gone cold, although they refuse to discuss details of the investigation.Williams’ death hung over the Broncos all year, as did the death of backup running back Damien Nash, who collapsed after a charity basketball game in St. Louis in March.Rosalind Williams told the team in the days after her son’s death that the best way to honor him was to win the Super Bowl, and the Broncos began the season with high hopes of doing just that with a retooled roster and a shuffled staff.But injuries and inconsistency doomed to the Broncos (7-9) to their first losing record since 1999, and Shanahan called this the toughest season of his 13-year tenure.There were constant reminders of the fallen teammates all season. The Broncos met with Williams’ family members during the preseason in Dallas and wore decals with their numbers on their helmets.A photo of Williams in his ‘fro-hawk’ was flashed on a PowerPoint to conclude the defensive backs meetings on the eve of games, and a handful of players, including receiver Javon Walker, in whose arms Williams died, took to wearing the hair style that Williams had popularized.At the end of every practice, teammates would gather in a circle, put their hands together and on the count of three chant Williams’ catch phrase, “All Ready!”They attended fundraising events at a Boys & Girls Club in Denver where a teen center was built in his memory and a life-size statue will be erected this spring.And the horror of Williams’ slaying came rushing back with the killing of Washington Redskins star safety Sean Taylor in a home break-in on Nov. 26.”It is hard to believe it has been a year,” said safety John Lynch, who was honored with the first Darrent Williams Good Guy Award from the media last week. “It’s been on our minds each and every day since the tragedy happened.”But that in no way should be blamed for the Broncos’ failures on the field, insisted cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who helped spearhead efforts to get the teen center built.”We dedicated this season to Darrent’s memory, but just because we didn’t win doesn’t mean we didn’t honor him,” Foxworth said. “He’s in our hearts and minds all the time. He wasn’t just a football player. First and foremost, Darrent was my friend. I miss his friendship.”Foxworth was one of several Broncos for whom New Year’s Day has become a time of mournful memories instead of unbridled celebration:”I definitely can’t see myself in a celebratory mood, screaming ‘Happy New Year!'”
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