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A 28-year-old man gunned down at a Fairfield gas station in March was apparently killed in a dispute over an engagement ring, and the brutal shooting was captured on store surveillance video.
Adarius Elon Williams, a father of four who celebrated a birthday the day before he was killed, died April 8 in the parking lot of the Citgo station on Milstead Road. Vincent Washington, 25, and Barbara Washington, 31, are charged with murder in Williams’ death. Additionally, Vincent Washington is charged with first-degree kidnapping because the woman who drove him to the gas station said she wanted to leave, and he threatened her with her life.
The Washington siblings, who lost their own sister to murder last year, are set to be in court this afternoon for their preliminary hearings. AL.com has obtained the store surveillance video of the killing, which shows a man with a towel wrapped around his head – identified by police as Vincent Washington – shoot Williams multiple times, nine of those shots fired almost point-blank after while Williams had already collapsed on the ground. Police have said Williams was not armed. According to police and court records, the brother and sister told a friend of Barbara Washington they would buy her gas if she drove them to the Citgo station that day. They were going to meet Williams because he wanted the engagement ring back that he had given to Barbara Washington. Williams’ fiancé at the time of his death was also with him at the gas station the day he was killed.
The friend drove them to the service station, but told police she didn’t know what was going to happen. Once they arrived there, Vincent Washington got out of the car with a towel wrapped around his head. When the friend realized something was amiss, she said she wanted to leave. At that point, according to court records, Vincent Washington told her, “(Expletive), if you drive off I’ll shoot you in the back of the head.”
The friend said she was afraid, and did what she was told to do. The video shows Washington and Williams arguing outside of the vehicle for about 12 seconds, and then Washington opens fire on Williams. Williams fell to the ground on his back, and Washington stood over him and fired nine more shots.
Witnesses on the scene gave a description of a white Nissan Altima leaving the area. They said the vehicle was occupied by two females and a male. A short time later, Bessemer police said, a man suffering from gunshot wounds to the stomach and the hand showed up at UAB West, and a white vehicle reportedly had brought him there.
Authorities confirmed that man – later identified as Vincent Washington – at the hospital was involved in the Fairfield shooting. About 8 p.m., Fairfield police spotted the white Altima and stopped the vehicle. Barbara Washington and another woman were taken into custody. The second woman wasn’t charged.
After the shooting, according to court records, Barbara Washington took the gun used in the slaying to a friend’s house to hide it.
At some point during the incident, Vincent Washington was also shot by someone trying to help Williams. Police have never said who shot the suspect. He spent several days in the hospital before he was released and booked into the Jefferson County Jail. Both of the siblings have remained jailed since then with bond set at $60,000.
Bill Veitch, the district attorney in Jefferson County’s Bessemer Cutoff, confirmed he has seen the video and said it shows the urgency needed in stopping the violence. “Any of us could have been out there at those gas pumps that day,’’ Veitch said. “This war on violence cannot be won unless the communities unite, tear down the walls that have built between us and see, hear and report.”
Warning: graphic content: