Family, friends, and neighbors of a 22-year-old Dorchester man who was shot to death on Friday gathered outside his Geneva Avenue apartment complex on Sunday night, trading tears, laughs, and memories.
Jameil Williams was found lying in Canavan Street in Randolph with a gunshot wound around 11:30 p.m. Friday, the victim of an “apparent homicide,” according to a statement from the Norfolk District Attorney’s office. He later died at Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center.
At the vigil, red rose petals and vigil candles bearing the image of Mary were spread around small white tea lights spelling out “Millz,” Williams’s nickname. Those close to Williams remembered deep-cheek dimples, a smile that revealed a chipped tooth, and his “penguin” walk.
Maryah, 16, recalled a loving brother.
“He always looked after me,” she said. “He always made sure I was OK.”
Maryah said that before he went out the night he was killed, her brother had been excitedly sporting a new Louis Vuitton belt their mother had given him for Christmas.
Dionna Caruthers, 17, called him a caring cousin.
“He was a good example, a mentor,” she said. “He told you right from wrong.”
Ty Wesley, 37, said he watched Williams grow up with other young men in the neighborhood.
“He was trying to work his way up — it’s sad his life was taken so unexpectedly,” he said. “I try to counsel them about taking positive steps, and he was one of the kids that was responding to that, so I’m really hurting.”
Janay Jones, 23, lives in the same Geneva Avenue apartment complex as Williams. She said in an interview earlier Sunday that Williams had recently secured a new job, and bought a car.
Jones’s mother, Saundra Jones, 46, said she often saw Williams coming home from his new job in a “suit and nice shoes.”
Janay Jones said that her family was close with Williams’s family, and that they live in a “tight community.”
“We’ve all lived here for a long time,” she said. “He was a good kid.”
Saundra Jones shared the sentiment.
“I’m in shock,” she said. “He was a very respectable boy. He’d always go out of his way to say hi, or help out.”
Janay Jones said Williams’ funeral took place Saturday.
“Yesterday morning was a bad morning,” she said Sunday
Williams’s mother, Cassandra, was spending the day inside on Sunday with Williams’ stepfather and couldn’t comment. Janay Jones said Williams’s mother was “heartbroken.”
As of Sunday there have been no arrests in connection with Williams’ death, said David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk District Attorney’s office. Police were actively investigating the scene on Sunday, Traub said.
At Sunday night’s vigil, the mourners huddled in small groups, bracing against the stiff chill, and formed a semicircle around the memorial, William’s framed face in the middle. They held hands and prayed.
One women broke down into tears.
“I’m sick of the violence,” she said. “It doesn’t solve anything.”