13 years after her son was murdered, Portsmouth mother asks community to ‘put down these guns’


Valerie Williams lit a candle in remembrance of her son, Bryan, who was shot to death in May 2007. (Photo courtesy of the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The mother of a man who was in murdered in Portsmouth 13 years ago spoke out against violent crimes.

Bryan Williams was shot to death on May 4, 2007 in the 6200 block of Centenary Drive in Portsmouth. No one was charged in the 22-year-old’s murder until November 2017 when police made an arrest.

On April 24, Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales led an at-home candlelight vigil to honor community members who have lost their lives to violent crimes. The candlelight vigil is an annual event that is part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Typically the vigil would be held in person, but due to the coronavirus outbreak a community ceremony wasn’t possible.

Bryan Williams’ mother, Valerie, spoke as part of the vigil. In a video she asked community members to put away their guns and to come together in faith.

“We have to stay strong for the children that have lost parents, mothers, fathers, grandparents,” Valerie Williams said. “We need to put down these guns, stop killing each other, and come together as a city, a nation. Stay strong. Stay prayed up and never lose faith.”

Valerie Williams also told the community that the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office will continue to seek justice for victim’s of violent crimes and their families.

“I’m lighting my candle for my son, Bryan Williams,” she said.

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