BAYTOWN, Texas – Friends and family came together to say their goodbyes Saturday to a teen who was just an innocent bystander when he was killed during a police chase last week.
Shawn Williams, Jr. had something that friends say is still changing lives, even on the day of his funeral in Baytown.
“Shawn was so special,” said Direne Lopez, a relative.
“(Shawn) was amazing,” said Gillian Ortez, Williams’ best friend. “That pretty much covers it.”
“The first thing I think about when I think about him is his smile,” said Marvell Broussard, who knew Shawn through church. “He was always smiling and he always had something kind to say to everybody.”
One week ago, Williams and friend Shay Hollingshead were on their way home from work when two shoplifting suspects in a pickup fleeing police struck them, turning the teens’ car into a fireball.
Hollingshead remains in critical condition. Williams is now a memory, one that filled Baytown’s Second Baptist Church with sorrow.
“I’m just beginning to get to the point where I can talk without crying,” said Joe Hollingshead, Shay Hollingshead’s father.
Just seeing photos of Shawn, Jr. flashed on overhead monitors drew tears, especially on stage where Sterling High School’s choir sat. Shawn, Jr. was a member.
“My son lived everyday to give his life away,” said Shawn Williams, Sr.
Emotions changed when loved ones grabbed the microphone sharing funny stories about Shawn.
“He posted a video on Christmas on Facebook of him stalking Santa,” said Brandon Williams, Shawn’s brother.
Loved ones said Shawn always made others smile, including strangers. Saturday, it seemed that attitude spread and changed things in the crowd of people that stood together singing at the funeral.
“There’s not a stranger anymore,” Ortez said. “Everyone in Baytown’s been affected by it.”
“Everybody’s turning into my family,” Joe Hollingshead said.
That family just wishes Williams was around to see it.
Joe Hollingshead’s father said doctors are trying to wean Shay off IV drugs and breathing machines. The teen has surgeries planned to repair injuries on the neck, leg and hip, and seems to be healing slowly.