One of the many ways that Carl Allen Williams III liked to give back to his community was to give blood regularly at the Central California Blood Center.
On Thursday, family and friends of the slain security guard paid tribute to his memory by making their own donations in a blood drive organized by Williams’ sister, Crystal Shirkey. The blood drive fell on Shirkey’s 30th birthday.
“He liked giving blood, he donated to Big Brothers/Big Sisters, he gave to Toys for Tots – he just loved doing things to help the community,” Shirkey said before rolling up her sleeve to have blood drawn Thursday morning.
Williams, 25, was shot and killed on the night of April 13 while doing security work at the Motel 6 on North Blackstone Avenue near Ashlan Avenue. The accused gunman, Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, of Fresno is also suspected of killing three more people in a shooting rampage Tuesday in a neighborhood north of downtown Fresno.
According to Fresno police, Williams and another security guard were called to the motel about 11 p.m. to help evict Muhammad and a woman from their room for refusing to pay a fee for an extra guest. As Williams, who was unarmed, spoke with Muhammad, Muhammad reportedly pulled a revolver and shot Williams several times. Williams died about two hours later at Community Regional Medical Center.
Williams’ other sister, Ashley Williams, said her brother had a season pass for the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim and liked going there with his siblings and their children. His last visit there was within the last couple of months, she said.
“He and I had a real good bonding growing up,” said Ashley Williams, who is three years older than her brother.
He was a gentle soul. He was just a big ol’ teddy bear.
Crystal Shirkey, brother of shooting victim Carl Allen Williams III
He also took pride in his car, a Toyota Camry, and had upgraded the vehicle’s lights. “He always had his car real clean and smelling really good,” Ashley Williams said. “He would go and buy a men’s cologne kind of smell for the car.”
Williams’ fiancée, Wendy Lo, also gave blood, but was too distraught Thursday to talk about their relationship. She could only nod as Shirkey descibed the pair as “each other’s first love.” Lo said she and Williams had been a couple for seven years.
By late Thursday afternoon, more than 60 people had given blood in memory of Williams at the blood bank’s northwest Fresno location, plus nearly three dozen more at four other locations in Fresno, Clovis and Visalia, said Leslie Botos, the agency’s director of community relations. “That’s pretty extraordinary for people who are just coming in like this,” Botos said.
Shirkey said her brother’s sturdy build and distinctive facial hair could be intimidating to a stranger, “but if you stared at him for 10 more seconds, he would just break out in a big goofy smile. He had this innocent smile.”
“He was a gentle soul,” she added. “He was just a big ol’ teddy bear.”
Shirkey said she and her family know the pain that the families of the other shooting victims are going through.
“When we found out what happened to my brother, the community really supported and prayed for us,” she said. “If I can offer any kind of comfort to the other victims’ families, it will be that the community won’t let us down. Everyone will continue to come together and support and pray for us.”
She declined to comment about Muhammad, who was arrested moments after the final victim was killed on Tuesday. “I have nothing to say about him,” Shirkey said. “I refuse to give him any power; I think that’s what he wanted. But I know our community won’t give it to him. So many good family men were stolen from us, and I won’t disrespect them by saying that person’s name.”