CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of the patient prosecutors say attacked a nurse in an Indiana hospital this week is speaking out. In the end both the patient and a responding officer were shot and killed.
Football at Thornton Fractional North launched Jamal Williams to a Division I life but family says his life turned grim lately — a stark contrast to how he lived his 22 years.
It’s called a code yellow. It came from Jamal Williams’ hospital room just after 1 a.m. Tuesday. Security arrived, and prosecutors say Williams was grabbing a nurse with one hand and striking her with the other. He overpowered responding officers, placing Ryan Askew in a chokehold, lifting him off the ground as he slid in and out of consciousness.
The second officer fired two fatal shots, striking Officer Askew in the shoulder and Williams in the face.
Friends say the smile of the D-I defensive tackle reflected his life — warm, inviting and strong.
What happened in the days before that code yellow? CBS 2’s investigation led to police documents from St. Joseph Michigan. According to the documents, last Thursday Williams approached a truck driver, “had a silver rod or knife in his hand,” and told the driver, “Take me with you or I’ll smack you.”
Witnesses recall “Mr. Williams walking around outside and raising his hands, appearing to yell towards the sky” and “could not tell what Mr. Williams was saying,” the documents say.
On Monday his parents bailed him out and drove him straight to Community Hospital of Munster.
Family says they do not know what happened at the hospital, but what they do know is the weight of the world lately was landing hard on his shoulders.
“During the corona outbreak, school graduation, you don’t get to walk across the stage,” they said. “You say this is the finish line, and that finish line never f****** comes,” they said.
Then came the death of George Floyd, they said.
“He would come and talk about how it was unfair,” said Williams’ mother Patrice Patterson-Davis. “He would watch that video, and I would tell him, ‘Don’t be watching that.'”
What the family is watching for now is answers to two key questions.
One: Why did authorities first report that Williams grabbed the officer’s gun and shot the officer?
“Which is a complete lie,” said Williams’ sister Imani Williams. “To tarnish his name to make him seem like a monster. Why would you do that? What would be the point of doing that?”
And two: Why wasn’t something less lethal used to cool the situation unfolding in the hospital room?
“Why would you send armed security guards to a patient’s room who has been apparently flagged as having potential mental health issues? It’s just a recipe for disaster,” said attorney Sal Indomencino.
CBS 2 asked Community Hospital of Munster to respond to that last question. The hospital offered the following statement:
“Our staff and security officers followed established procedures in an attempt to deescalate the situation to avoid any physical confrontation. While this situation ended tragically, at all times our staff and security officers were doing their best to protect this patient, all of our other patients and our staff.”
The initial reports of Williams accessing the gun of the officer came from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. Of not, both hospital officers are retirees of the sheriff’s department. The Lake County prosecutor’s office said it was important to stop all false rumors as quickly as possible, which is why late in the day Tuesday their version of the “most accurate facts.