Friends, family recall slain Motel 6 guard Carl Williams as fellow guards honor him

Security guards from across Fresno stood outside of the Northeast Assembly of God on Saturday morning to honor Carl Allen Williams III, a security guard who was fatally shot outside a Motel 6 on April 13.

The guards were not only from Monument Security, where Williams, 25, worked, but from several different agencies. They showed up at Williams’ funeral in marked cars and in full uniform as a show of support for Williams’ family.

Inside the church, family and friends filled the pews, as white flowers lay on a gray casket for Williams, one of four people killed by shooting spree suspect Kori Ali Muhammad.

Williams was fatally shot as he attempted to evict Muhammad and a woman from one of the motel’s rooms. Muhammad escaped, then went on a killing spree on Tuesday that left three other men dead before he was arrested.

Greg Poulsen, who worked with Williams as a manager at Babies R Us, described him as sincere and hard working. Williams began working at Babies R Us before he was 20, according to family, and had just been promoted to an assistant manager at the Toys R Us in Clovis.

“Carl loved adventure, he loved to travel, to meet new people,” Poulsen said. Williams was looking forward to working at former president Barack Obama’s book signing next year, according to Poulsen. “He was so pumped at getting the opportunity.”

Poulsen said he still doesn’t understand why Williams’ death had to happen, but he urged the crowd of more than 100 mourners to honor Williams by living how he would want them to live. “This can go one of two ways. You can be filled with fear and worry, or you can live like Carl and appreciate every moment,” he said.

Tiffany Gould recalled growing up with her cousin, remembering when he would visit her in Madera Ranchos. “During his stay, we would go riding quads – or flip them,” she laughed. “ I’m not sure what we did more of. We would play tag at night and watch scary movies.” She said she kept in contact with Williams through Snapchat, and her last contact with him was through the social media app.

“I was in a town called Carlsbad,” Gould said, smiling. “I sent (a picture) to him with a view of the ocean, and it said ‘Carlsbad.’” Gould said Williams replied to her, teasing her about the name of the city. “And that’s the last I heard from him,” she said.

Williams’ mother, Francine Williams Hicks, said she was in shock when she learned her son had been murdered.

“When I found out my son had passed, I was driving in the car in my darkest hour,” Williams Hicks said. She said her husband had a seizure upon hearing the news and she found herself lost.

“I could go to my right and hit the brick wall, or go ahead and choose to do something good and follow God’s path,” she said. “I chose my left.”

Williams Hicks is dealing with the loss of her son by bonding with Williams’ fiance, Wendy Lo. “I’m not going to see my grandchildren or the wedding day,” she said, “but (Lo) will always be my daughter.”

Williams Hicks asked others to donate blood in memory of Williams, who regularly donated to the Central California Blood Center.

Williams is also survived by his father Carl Williams Jr., his sisters Crystal Shirkey and Ashley Williams, his stepsisters Annie and Ellie Hicks, and his stepbrother Judd Hicks.

Shirkey, addressing the church audience, said her brother was her best friend. “Even though he was the baby of us three, he was the man in our lives; the one we called whenever we needed anything.”

After the service, as the funeral procession followed the hearse to St. Peter’s Cemetery, nearly a dozen private security cars trailed behind to honor one of their own.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPan