Vigil held for slain youth football coach

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Less than 24 hours after a youth football coach was shot and killed following practice at a park in Fort Lauderdale, family and friends held a candlelight vigil in the spot where he was murdered.

Dave Williams, or, as he’s affectionately known, “Coach Disco,” had just finished coaching his Hurricanes football team at Mills Pond Park when he was killed, at around 8:45 p.m. Witnesses say about 30 12-to-13-year-olds were on the field when the fatal shots were fired, and others were nearby.

“It’s just crazy. There were a lot of people out here, a lot of kids were out here. The park was full,” said team mom Lakercha Miller.

“He was a father figure,” said Patrick Wells, Williams’ friend.

On Friday night, his team of 7-year-olds was supposed to play a game. Instead, they gathered with coaches, current and former team members, and Williams’ sister, to remember the fallen coach.

“Just last night he was on his way to buy the whole team, you know, Gatorades,” said Wells. “You know, he wanted to reward the kids.”

Williams died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. He was 43.

Coach Randy Kid said they weren’t sure what was happening until it was too late. “It was homecoming, so we thought it was fireworks, but by the time we realized it was for real, it was,” Kid said. “It happened so fast.”

The coaches were in disbelief that Williams was violently killed so close to his team of 7-year-olds. “It’s a numbness. It’s a numbness. It’s something that nobody expected. We practice and we go home,” Wells said.

Police have not said much about the shooter or a possible motive.

While detectives search for the gunman responsible, parents are searching for the right words for their sons. “I tried to explain it to him, but he doesn’t really understand it yet,” said Miller.

Asked how much he’d miss his coach, 8-year-old Derrek Cooper said, “Really a lot. He’s off the to the stars and stuff.”

If you have any information on this shooting, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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