NEW BOSTON, TX (KSLA) - Instead of a pre-season high school football scrimmage Thursday night, several hundred people gathered for a vigil in memory of a New Boston teen shot to death at a local car wash Wednesday night.
17-year-old Semaj Williams would have been a senior this year at New Boston High School. He was also on the football team, which was set to scrimmage Thursday afternoon with Gilmer High School. But he died Wednesday night of an apparent gunshot wound while detailing a truck with friends at the local car wash.
Derrick Parker says he called police after he and his girlfriend Hope Crowder heard the gunshots near his apartment. "One shot happened, then there was a pause, and then 'POW! POW! POW!'" "We went to go check it out and it turns out it was one of our good friends, just dead. Just laid there."
The circumstances surrounding the shooting is still under investigation, but police say Williams and two other teens were detailing the truck when they found a weapon inside the vehicle. Police Chief Tony King says it was an accidental gunshot wound, but would not say how the fatal shot was fired. The truck belongs to a former New Boston School Board member. Two other teens, friends of Williams and fellow football team members, have been questioned. Police are not saying if any charges will be filed.
"Samaj was a good kid," says Parker. "He was never in trouble."
"The biggest thing about Samarj is every time that I seen him, he had a smile on his face every time," recalls Crowder.
"It is so tragic, because they are such good kids and it just affects so many lives," says New Boston ISD superintendent Gary VanDeaver. "Your heart just breaks for these kids and what they are going through."
The first day of school in New Boston will go on Monday as scheduled, but VanDeaver says the district will have extra counselors on campus. "This is going to have a huge impact on our student body, a huge impact on our faculty."
Funeral arrangements for Samaj Williams are pending.