Hannah Linn Williams is the 17-year-old girl who was shot dead by a Fullerton police officer in Anaheim, California, on July 5.
The incident occurred in the eastbound lane of the 91 Freeway at around 7 p.m. local time, the Anaheim Police Department said in a statement. Around an hour after the shooting occurred, those stuck in traffic due to the highway’s closure were rocked with a 6.9 magnitude earthquake.
Williams’ identity was first revealed in a report from KTLA.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Recovered ‘An Item Appearing to Be a Handgun’ From the Scene
On July 9, the Orange County District Attorney’s office released a photo of a replica gun that police said they recovered from Williams’ car. The DA’s office said:
An on-duty Fullerton police officer in full uniform was driving in his marked police SUV on the eastbound 91 freeway while taking his police K-9 to the veterinarian for a medical procedure. He observed a 17-year-old female driver, who was also eastbound on the 91 freeway at a high rate of speed, near Glassell Avenue.
At some point, the two vehicles made physical contact. An officer-involved shooting occurred and a replica Beretta 92 FS handgun was recovered at the scene next to the female (pictured above). The gun was later identified as a replica handgun designed to look like a real Beretta 92 FS.
No officers were hurt during the incident. KTLA reports that witnesses said they heard the sound of a crash followed by two gunshots.
Fox Los Angeles reports that investigators believe they say “an item appearing to be a handgun was recovered at the scene.” In their initial statement, Anaheim police referred to Williams as a “suspect.” In a tweet, the Anaheim PD said, “Determination needs to be made if it was real, functional, loaded, etc. It looks like a handgun for sure.” In a subsequent tweet, the police department said, “The freeway was packed and all potential witnesses need to be interviewed first. We cannot risk influencing someone’s statement, by releasing details prematurely.”
2. Multiple Agencies Are Investigating Williams’ Shooting
The shooting resulted in traffic problems as Anaheim homicide detectives investigated the shooting. It is typical for homicide detectives to investigate the officer-involved shootings. The shooting is also being investigated by the Orange County District Attorney’s office. ABC News reports that the officer involved in the shooting has yet to be interviewed by investigators.
The Anaheim PD said that as the woman was shot in Anaheim by a Fullerton officer, there will be multiple investigations into the shooting. Williams lived in Anaheim. The officer was on duty at the time of the shooting. Aerial footage from local TV stations at the scene showed what appeared to be a crashed SUV surrounded by various police vehicles.
In a press release, the Anaheim PD said, “One female suspect (was) struck by gunfire and transported to a hospital.” Williams’ family has been notified of her death. Anybody with any information regarding the shooting is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or visit http://www.occrimestoppers.org.
3. Williams’ Father, Benson Williams, Said That He Wants to Know if His Daughter Was Shot in the Back
A family spokesperson told Heavy.com in an email statement that the Williams family was calling on California Governor Gavin Newsom to launch a civil rights investigation into the shooting. The statement reads in part, “Community demands officers involved be suspended without pay pending investigation outcomes.”
The Williams family would be held a press conference on July 9 at Anaheim City Hall. During that press conference, Williams’ godmother, Lynette Campbell said, “The information we received from the police department changed several times.”
Rev. Jarrett Maupin told Heavy, “The Williams Family wants to set the standards for transparency in this case. We want local authorities to follow suit. The public wants to know what happened and whether or not the officers involved followed all policies and procedures. We have doubts.”
In the same statement, Williams’ father, Benson Williams, is quoted as saying, “We want Rev. Sharpton to shine a light on what happened here in Anaheim. We want to know why police felt the need to shoot and kill a 17-year-old unarmed teen girl… We want the public to know, right away, how many times our daughter was shot and whether or not she was shot in the back.”
4. Williams’ Sister Is Reaching Out to Major Political Figures to Help to Draw Attention to the Shooting
In the wake of the shooting of Hannah Williams, her sister, Nyla, has been reaching out to major American political figures in an attempt to draw attention to the shooting. Nyla wrote the same message to California Senator Kamala Harris and former Vice President Joe Biden. That message reads, “we need your help. My 17 yr sister was just shot and killed by the Fullerton police we have no answer we have been told several different things this happened Friday evening on the 91 here in Anaheim please please.” Nyla is a U.S. Air Force cadet.
Also on Twitter, a friend of the family’s, Anaise Luna, wrote in tribute to Williams, “My heart has never felt so much pain before. I’ve loved this girl so much. She was such an amazing athlete, friend and loveable person. She didn’t deserve to die, she had a life to live. She was only 17. @Gone_Guinn I’m praying for you and your family for justice ❤️ .” “Gone_Guinn” is Nyla Williams’ Twitter handle.
While another friend, Jaire Ramirez, wrote to Nyla saying, “I knew your sister she was such an amazing person❤ she would always motivate me to do my best and she always had my back. She knew how to make me laugh and smile. I love her so much? she will always have a place in my heart! I’ll be praying for your family ?.”
5. A Family Friend Said Williams Could Have Had a ‘Mickey Mouse Gun But Not a Real Gun’
While a family friend, Magda Rojas, told KTLA of the police department’s allegation that Williams was armed, “Maybe a Mickey Mouse gun or something, but not a real gun. We don’t have no clue. We don’t have real answers.”