HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. — One day after a police standoff ended with three people dead in Helena-West Helena, neighbors and law enforcement are filling in the details about the suspect and the victims.
There are a number of factors that led to the tragic standoff that ended with a double homicide and an officer-involved shooting, and nothing could have called for the horrible events that occurred.
Both neighbors and police have confirmed that one of the victims has a history linked to sex crimes against a minor.
Back in 2016, Christine Fulmer faced charges of permitting abuse of a minor and endangering the welfare of an incompetent person when she was accused of allowing an underage family member to have sex with 44-year-old William Watson.
Neighbors and police said Tuesday’s suspect, Raymond Lewis Williams Jr., saw Fulmer and the other victim, Deanna Banks, in his front yard. It was an angry confrontation that turned deadly.
“Mr. Williams got agitated about the situation that she was there in the area, and based off witness statements, he came out and started shooting,” Helena-West Helena Police Chief James Smith said.
After killing Fulmer and Banks, police said Williams went back into the house. When officers made the scene, they said he appeared on the porch with a gun and started a six-hour standoff that ended just after 10 p.m.
“I seen when they were shooting, and he was shooting back,” family member Denise Marie Williams said. “The sniper ducked. We ducked. I know that they picked him, and they got him.”
The house on North Washington Street still shows major evidence,with bullet holes in the front door, a broken window and a mess inside, but the real damage is in the community that lost three people.
Williams’ family says he struggled with mental health in the past, so it was through no lack of effort that he had a final breakdown.
“The family had many attempts of trying to get him some type of assistance, to help him out with some of his crises. But at this time, he was pretty much not talking to anyone,” Smith said.
Law enforcement claims Williams was so disturbed that he made threats around the community before.
“There was some information that was provided by witnesses that Mr. Williams Jr. had stated he wanted to put Helena-West on the map,” Smith said.
But Williams’ family vehemently disagrees and says he could have been saved under the right conditions.
“His mind just flipped. It was a tragedy. They didn’t have to gun him down like that. They could have talked him down. They could have done better than what they did,” Williams said.
Regardless of the specifics, everyone involved regrets the loss of life. Authorities are asking the community if you’re loved one is dealing with mental illness, please contact law enforcement or emergency services so they can get proper treatment.
“You know, my sorrow, my heart goes out to all the victims,” Williams said. “I feel sorry for the whole family, all of them, including mine.”
We met with Williams’ mother, who is not just mourning her son, but all the loss of life.
“I am deeply truly sorry,” the suspect’s mother, Brenda Burrell, said. “I apologize for me, and I apologize for my son. But he wasn’t at his self.”
The mother of the suspect in the Helena West Helena double homicide visited the crime scene this morning, trying to make sense of what happened.
— Peter Fleischer (@Peter_Fleischer) August 28, 2019