SEATTLE — It was just before midnight on Tuesday, April 11, when the shooting started in the 8300 block of Rainier Avenue South.
Seattle Police officers nearby heard the shots.
“They responded to the scene. They did an area search. They found a rifle discarded in the backyard of a nearby residence, which is probably the murder weapon,” said retired Seattle police detective Myrle Carner with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.
“Three suspects in dark clothing and possibly wearing hoods were seen running from the area westbound across Rainier Avenue South. A dark-colored minivan was also seen leaving the area through an alley,” Carner said.
In the parking lot behind the building where victim Latrel Williams lived, officers found the 35-year-old’s body. He had been shot multiple times. It appeared that he was executed.
“He was targeted,” said Latrel’s mother, Lynda Wolff.
More than 500 people attended Latrel's memorial service last month.
Lynda raised him on her own and says he was an obedient kid who grew up to be a star running back at John F. Kennedy High School in Burien. She describes him as a gifted athlete who was also a deep thinker who loved to read.
"Nobody knows anybody who disliked him,” said Lynda.
More importantly, he was a father.
“There's no reason my grandson shouldn't have a father and I shouldn't have a child anymore,” Lynda said.
Latrel volunteered as a Little League coach for kids and was an entrepreneur who had recently started a company to hire low-income people in his community to work as flaggers on job sites.
"He was the type of person that saw everybody for who they were. He saw them as human beings. He didn't mind lowering his wings so he could relate to somebody, help somebody out every opportunity that he got,” said his cousin, Ellis Holifield.
Seattle Police say Latrel was an innocent victim and they have found no motive or reason for his murder.
“It's tearing me apart. At night, I cry at night. I wake up crying. I could see if he was a bad person or if he had any bad habits, that would probably help me but there's nothing that he's done to anyone,” Lynda said.
Seattle homicide detectives returned to the scene recently and posted Crime Stoppers flyers asking for the public’s help.
“We think people were in that area, possibly heard the gunshots, saw the vehicle, perhaps got a license plate, maybe identification of the clothing, whatever,” said Carner.
Lynda has searched through all of her son’s paperwork looking for any clues as to why this might have happened.
"I couldn't find anything. I'm sure whoever this was didn't really know who my son was,” she said.
If you have any information that can help Seattle Police identify the suspects, Crime Stoppers will pay you a $4,000 cash reward. Call the hot line at 1-800-222-TIPS or use the P3 Tips App.
“He was a good father, a good person, extremely good heart. He didn’t deserve it,” said Holifield.