A college football player has been accused of shooting his 16-year-old cheerleader girlfriend dead in Tennessee. William Riley Gaul, 18, is being held on a $750,000 bond at the Knox County Jail after he was arrested in relation to the death of Emma Walker. Officials said that Walker, a student at Central High School in Knoxville, was found dead inside of her home along Cardindale Drive on the morning of November 21 at around 6:30 a.m. Gaul is a graduate of Central High School.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Gaul Turned His Twitter Page Into a Shrine to Emma Walker
Both Walker and Gaul posted multiple photos of the pair together on Twitter over the last 12 months. Gaul’s Twitter bio reads, “Living everyday through Emma Walker. I love you beautiful and I know you’re in a better place now.” WBIR reports that the couple were “boyfriend and girlfriend.” The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Walker had broken up with Gaul and he “refused” to accept it. Her aunt, Jenny Weldon, told the newspaper, “She had chosen to move on. He refused to accept it. He chose not to accept her wishes.”
A few hours before his arrest, Gaul tweeted, “I love you Emma, I can’t be around any of that yet, it’s too soon. I know you know I’m dying to be there but understand I can’t. I love you.” Two weeks before Walker’s death, Gaul tweeted, “I’d do anything to have it all back.”
In his various tributes to Walker, Gaul referenced Corinthian 13:8. The bilical verse reads, “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
Read more about Emma Walker in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com:
2. Gaul Is Accused of Firing a Gun Into Walker’s Home From Outside
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that Gaul was arrested on the night of November 22. He had been under surveillance by authorities ever since Walker was found dead. The Sentinel adds that officers pounced when they felt that Gaul was about to “destroy evidence” that was connected to Walker’s death.
WBIR reports that Gaul was arrested in the parking lot of his apartment building at around 11 p.m. on November 22. He will face a court appearance later this week.
3. A YouCaring Page Says That It Had Been Walker’s Dream to Become a Nurse
A YouCaring page has been set up to help Walker’s family to pay for her funeral expenses. That page adds that it had been Walker’s dream to become a nurse. It adds that she is survived by her parents Mark and Jill Walker as well as her brother, Evan. The tribute also says, “She was a cheerleader at Central High School and shared her smile with the entire Bobcat Nation. Her fun, kind, sweet spirit was contagious. Emma was a beauty inside and out. Our community was blessed to know her.” At the time of writing, nearly $7,000 has been raised.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that donations to Walker’s family can be made at any Regions Bank.
Central High School’s Principal Michael Reynolds released a statement saying, “This has been a very difficult time for the family, students and staff. Our student was a wonderful young lady, a cheerleader and honor student with a promising future, whose life has been cut too short, too soon. At this time, our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with the family as they go through this grieving process. We thank everyone in our community for their tremendous support.”
4. Gaul Works at the University of Tennessee Medical Center
According to his Facebook page, Gaul works at the University of Tennessee Medical Center while studying at Maryville College. The last public update on his page says Gaul began studying at the school in August 2016.
5. Gaul Plays as a Wide Receiver for Maryville College
Gaul graduated from Central High School in 2016. The roster for Maryville College lists him as a wide receiver for the team. Gaul is listed as being 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds. Hudl lists him has doing a 40-yard dash in 4.49. Max Preps ranked him as the 43rd best wide receiver of his graduating class in Tennessee.
He last played for the team on November 12 in a game against Greensboro in North Carolina, reports WBIR.
A statement from his school read, “Maryville College is cooperating fully with the Knox County Sheriff’s Department in this investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and friends and other individuals affected by this tragedy.”