Courthouse Steps Maven
| September 5th, 2009 02:28 PM
Manatee County high school cheerleader shot dead
By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune
and KEVIN WIATROWSKI | The Tampa Tribune
September 5, 2009
Her family called her Jazzy.
Jazmine Thompson, 17, was entering her senior year at Bayshore High School, where she was a cheerleader.
She wanted to go to the University of Central Florida, study law and become a defense attorney.
But that won't happen.
Thompson died Friday night after she was shot while sitting in a car with three other girls two of them classmates near Southeast High School.
Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube said the shooting happened after Daniel Floyd Williams, 18, approached the car and struck up a conversation. Over time, the conversation became heated and Williams started waving a gun, according to Steube.
Soon, the gun went off.
Deputies say Thompson was shot in the head. Her friends drove several miles to her home on 32nd Avenue East and called 911. But it was too late.
When emergency personnel arrived, Thompson was dead.
News of her death traveled fast and far.
Her aunt, Adrienne Williams, got a call at her home in Tallahassee at about 11:15 p.m. Friday.
After dropping her two younger children with relatives, Williams packed up her son, Shawn, and her mother, Aretha James, and drove through the night to Bradenton.
"We jumped on the road and got here around 4:30 a.m.," said Adrienne Williams no relation to the man deputies say shot Thompson. "We've been going ever since."
Thompson was an only child, said Williams. Her stepfather is in jail. Her biological father is not around.
Deputies are continuing to search for Daniel Floyd Williams.
"The bottom line is we're as outraged as the public about this guy and we want to get him," Steube said. "We want him right now,"
Steube is asking for the public's help to find Daniel Floyd Williams, who faces charges of second-degree murder in the shooting.
"We have been hunting Mr. Williams most of the night," Steube said at a 1:30 p.m. press conference in Bradenton. "We haven't had success in locating him."
Steube said Williams has lived in Manatee County for about four years, but investigators didn't have a permanent address for him. Steube said investigators believe Williams' nearest relative lives in Philadelphia. They think Williams has lived with various girlfriends since moving to Manatee County in 2005.
Outside the cream-colored one-story duplex Thompson shared with her mother, family and friends gathered all day under a blue canopy in the front yard. Cars lined the narrow street and parked in the grass.
Bayshore cheerleaders left flowers and a poster that read "RIP Jazmine. We heart you."
Adrienne Williams said her sister does not have any money to bury Thompson. She said the sheriff's office has offered to put the family in contact with community groups that can help with Thompson's burial.
Thompson's fellow cheerleaders are going to have a fundraiser Sunday morning at the Mexicali Restaurant on Cortez road.
In a written statement, Bayshore High principal David Underhill remembered Thompson as a great student.
"The loss of one of our students is a tragedy of the worst kind," Underhill wrote. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the young ladies family and our school community shares in their grief. She was a great student here at Bayshore High and she will be missed by us all."
Standing outside Thompson's house, Shawn Williams described his cousin as smart and talkative, traits that make her a good cheerleader, he said.
"She was quite outspoken," he said.
Thompson is the second Bayshore student killed this year.
Last month, Dejuan Williams, who graduated from Bayshore High in June, was shot after he discovered his younger sister had two boys in the house without permission and confronted one of the teenagers in the backyard, Manatee County deputies said.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 747-3011, or Crime Stoppers at 866-634-TIPS.