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Wednesday dawned gray and gloomy, as if the sun itself stood at half-mast for a community in mourning for a young man whose life was cut tragically short.
A long funeral procession wound slowly from Shelby Christian Church onto U.S. 60 shortly before 4:30 p.m., amid a light, misting rain, bearing 18-year-old Trey F. Williams to his rest.
A large crowd of perhaps 200 or more had turned out to pay their last respects to the teen who was shot and killed Saturday afternoon in an altercation with Shelbyville police at his grandmother’s home on Clifton Court.
Since that day, the community of Shelbyville has struggled on many levels to come to terms with this tragedy.
Said Betty Harris, a Martinsville resident who attended a community-wide service at nearby Shelby Congressional Methodist Church on Tuesday night: “The community has to come together. We hope this service will help us heal. Everybody’s just trying to make sense of what’s happened.”
As Kentucky State Police continue to investigate the sequence of events that took Williams’ life, the community struggles to come to term with the death of a teenager so many loved in such a horrible way.
Rev. Justin Barnes of Greater Shiloh Temple consoled hundreds of mourners at Williams’ private, 2-hour funeral on Wednesday, and the service Tuesday night in Martinsville brought comfort to perhaps 100 more who overflowed the church.
“Things happen that we can’t understand, but one thing we know is that what we don’t need is to become more divided,” Rev. Ron Walker, pastor of Shelby Congressional Methodist Church told those assembled at the small frame building on Martin Luther King Street.
“We need to come together in peace; we need unity, that’s what we need,” Walker said, with arms upraised, while many in the audience nodded, some with tears in their eyes.
“This family needs prayers; this community needs prayers, and most of all, we need to be one,” he said. “Every generation has to go through its troubles; this generation can survive, it will survive. It just needs some guidance.”
Walker looked around the small sanctuary, which was packed to capacity, with some people even standing along the walls, and asked if there were any prayer requests.
What followed filled the minister’s eyes with tears as he listened to prayer requests for the youth of the community, for lost souls, for friends and relatives in distress, and especially for Williams’ family.
“We just all need to give them, and the whole community, our prayers,” said one woman. “You would be surprised how many blessings come to you if you would just open your heart and pray.”
The crowd murmured in agreement as one man spoke up, saying, “We’re praying right now for our community to come together, and we should. But we shouldn’t wait until tragedy strikes to pray for that.”
No new details of the investigation emerged Wednesday.
Shelbyville Police officers Suzanna Marcum and Frank Willoughby remain on administrative leave as the KSP’s investigators continue to sort through information to piece together a “why” that is haunting so many in this case.
KSP spokesperson Ron Turley has said that Marcum fired the shot that killed Williams, regarded by those who knew him to be a kind, loving man, in the home of Dorothy Farris off Mack Walters Road.
They were responding to a call of a man who had broken a window and entered the home, he said. Williams, a recent graduate of Shelby County High School, attacked the officers, rendering Willoughby incapacitated, prompting Marcum to shoot him.
Williams’ family members say they want to be sure they get all the answers in the case, and they’ve hired Louisville attorney Frank Mascagni to represent them.
Turley said the case ultimately will be reviewed by a grand jury.