officer-involved shooting victim

Demetrius Williams

A GoFundMe account has been established to assist with the burial costs of Demetrius Williams, a Marshall man who was fatally shot by Harrison County sheriff’s deputies as they executed a narcotics search warrant at his home, Thursday.

“Demetrius’ life was taken from him on the day he looked forward to celebrating his daughter’s 8th birthday; instead, his family is reaching out for help for his final expense,” said Demetria McFarland, organizer of the GoFundMe and president of Marshall Against Violence.

“Please help his mother, Mrs. Carolyn Jefferson, give her son a proper burial,” she requested. “There’s no amount too small or too large.”

According to officials at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, deputies went to Williams’ home at 604 S. Allen St., about 11 a.m., to execute a narcotics search warrant to search the home.

Lt. Jay Webb with the sheriff’s office said Williams was the subject of their investigation. Officials said Williams was shot after he allegedly attempted to flee in his minivan and hit a deputy in the process.

The family believes otherwise and is seeking answers as to why the 31-year-old son, brother and father of five was shot multiple times, striking not the wheels of his minivan, but the back of his head.

McFarland said 100 percent of all donations will go to the grieving family for Williams’ final burial expense. She’s asking people to have a heart, and look past any flaws or lack of insurance and sympathize with the grieving family.

“I’ve had people I had asking to help out saying well he should’ve had insurance….or (mentioning) his lifestyle,” McFarland said. “His lifestyle, that means nothing to me.

“He has a grieving mother that’s mourning a loss and we need to lay him to rest,” she said.

“None of us are perfect. We all have our flaws,” McFarland said. “Regardless of what people are saying about him, regardless of what he did or did not do, the fact remains he’s gone and there’s his mother here that has to bear the burden of laying her son to rest.”

McFarland, who has experienced the shooting deaths of two loved ones — her father and her brother – said she knows the stress the family is going through and wants the funeral costs to be one less burden they’ll have to worry about.

“My thing is we have to lay him to rest, so let’s do something to make sure that this is one less burden or one less strain that his mother will have,” she said. “It’s bad enough that she has to bury her son and she doesn’t have any answers from local law enforcement, including the ones that took his life. She needs the assistance to lay her son to rest so she can go on and start dealing with the issue to what happened to her son.”

McFarland encourages anyone who considered themselves a friend of Williams or even his classmates from Marshall or TSTC where he majored in welding to support the GoFundMe.

“Funerals are not cheap,” she said. “I’m hoping his friends, classmates and anyone that really cared about him help us spread the world about the GoFundMe page.

“To me, that’s where the rubber meets the road, if they really cared about “Big Mechie’, Demetrius Williams, if it’s really their ‘homeboy, this is where you show that you really did care for her son; that you really did appreciate the friendship that you had with her son by giving on the GoFundMe page or either take a monetary donation to Ms. Jefferson yourself or to me,” said McFarland. “If he really meant that much to you, put some actions to your words.”

The MAV president asks for giving hearts, especially considering the family lost their loved one around the holidays.

“Let’s do what we can to make this holiday just a little lighter for them in regards for them not having a financial burden to stretch themselves thin. Let’s be a city or community that actually picks that family up and says we got your back,” she said. “We’re here to help.”

As of Friday evening, $330 had been raised of the $5,000 goal.

McFarland said she’d love to see the goal surpassed. Anyone with donations is welcome to call her as well at (903) 930-9793 or go to GoFundMe at https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-son-a-brother-a-fatherdemetrius-williams?member=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_email%2Binvitesupporters.

“Thank you in advance and please help his family with your financial contribution and please, please pray for the Jefferson and Williams’ family,” McFarland said.

For more on this story, see Sunday’s edition for an interview with the victim’s family.