LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Dead teen's family seeks answers in Shelbyville shooting


The family of a teenager fatally wounded by Shelbyville police last month has retained two prominent Louisville attorneys in hopes of getting answers about why he was shot inside his grandmother's home.

"We just want to know why our son was killed. ...They won't tell us nothing," said Gardner Williams, the father of Trey Williams, 18, who died at Jewish Hospital Shelbyville after the Nov. 19 incident at 100 Clifton Court. "... We want justice. We want the truth. There's no reason for him to be gone."

Kentucky State Police, who are investigating, said Trey Williams broke into the home and when confronted by police was "deranged and armed with a pipe" and refused to follow commands, overpowering and striking officers repeatedly even after being shot with a Taser.

One officer was injured and unable to defend himself, said Trooper Ronald Turley, public information officer for the state police.

In a statement, he said a second officer fatally shot Williams "to stop the assault against the incapacitated officer."

Frank Mascagni, who along with Ann Oldfather has been hired by the Williams family to determine whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit, said the teen had a right to be in his grandmother's home and the officers erred in going in without a search warrant and confronting Williams instead of calling for backup and assessing the best way to handle the situation.

"They brought the confrontation to the boy; he didn't bring the confrontation to them," Mascagni said last week. "Smarter men would have taken a pause and come up with a strategy to protect lives. Their failure to do so caused a homicide. These policemen committed a crime."

He added that Williams had no history of mental disease or any criminal convictions, though he recently had been charged with disorderly conduct.

Mascagni said he and Oldfather would likely wait for Shelby County Commonwealth's Attorney Laura Donnell to present the case to a grand jury and gather other information - including the results of the toxicology report - before deciding whether to proceed with a suit.

Donnell did not return a phone message or email, but Shelbyville Police Chief Robert Schutte said he believed her office would soon take the case before the grand jury, as is standard procedure, to determine whether the officers did anything wrong.

Schutte said the officers, Suzanne Marcum and Frank Willoughby, were on paid administrative leave, but he declined to discuss details of the case, noting that the state police are investigating.

The grandmother, Dorothy Farris, said in an interview that she was out when her grandson came over that afternoon and came home to find police surrounding the area. She said he lived with her briefly and came over frequently but did not have a key at the time.

Turley said in the state police statement that the incident began with a call to police about a man carrying a pipe and a book in the area of U.S. 60 who had struck a windshield. A second caller said the man had broken a window at 100 Clifton Court and gone inside. Two officers arrived at 1:47 p.m. and were let into the house by a maintenance man.

The statement said the officers made repeated announcements identifying themselves and entered the residence to investigate the apparent burglary and presence of blood.

Trey Williams' family described him as a friendly teen who was always smiling, had recently graduated from high school, where he played basketball, was working for Dairy Queen and was talking about going to college.

"We are tore up and grieving," said Gardner Williams, who sat next to Stephanie Williams, Trey's mother, in an interview last week.

Both parents broke down several times, with Stephanie Williams barely able to speak at times, telling reporters her son had a kind heart and was happy, acting normally on the day he died.

Gardner Williams said his son was probably surprised and scared when someone entered his grandmother's home and was acting in self-defense. "I can see my son defending himself," he said.

Dorothy Farris said she doesn't know if her grandson broke the window to get into her home, and she never saw a pipe anywhere. The family said police have told them little about what happened.

"I want some answers for this family so they can have some peace," Mascagni said. "Right now I have more questions than answers."