University Town Mourns Death, Arrest of Students
Jan. 28, 1995
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ Bouquets of roses and a team picture were left Friday outside the sorority house where a member of the university's lacrosse team was gunned down in a shooting rampage that left two people dead and two others wounded.
Wendell Williamson, a 26-year-old law student and military buff who was being treated for mental problems, is charged with firing a semiautomatic rifle as he walked down the street Thursday near the campus of the University of North Carolina.
The gunman continued shooting even after he was wounded in the leg by police. William Leone, an ex-Marine and Gulf war veteran now studying at the university, was wounded in the shoulder as he tackled the gunman. He and a second bystander then subdued the man. A policewoman was shot in the hand.
``It's just such a terrible waste,'' said lacrosse coach Dave Klarmann.
Kevin Reichardt, 20, of Annapolis, Md., was shot as he rode his bicycle to lacrosse practice. A witness said Reichardt was hit while riding and tried to crawl across the street, then was killed by another shot.
``There are those people in our lives who set examples for you,'' said lacrosse teammate Steve Schreiber, 23. ``Kevin was one of them. He liked to spend time with his friends. He always got around to telling people how special they were. He never had a bad thing to say.''
Mourners placed at more than a dozen bouquets of roses outside the Phi Mu sorority house. His jersey number, 14, was on the pavement in masking tape, as was a lacrosse cap and team picture.
A half-block way, sisters of 42-year-old Ralph Walker, the divorce father of three, hugged and cried on the sidewalk outside the rooming house where he was gunned down as he left for work at a McDonald's restaurant.
``He was very quiet and so meek,'' Beverly Walker said. ``He was just a responsible person ... he worked all the time. He would do anything for anybody.''
Williamson was a straight-A student and personable man who had become depressed in recent years, friends and family say. His mother, Fonda, said her son was a history buff with a particular interest in World War II.
``He was always a reasonable, rational person,'' she said. ``Somewhere along the way, something went wrong ... We don't know what.
``We are just as stunned and puzzled by this as everyone else.''
Williamson was on medication and had been seeing a psychiatrist at the university for treatment for depression, his parents said.
The couple said their son seemed reserved when he came home to Clyde for the holidays and had been out of touch with them since returning to Chapel Hill. ``It's uncharacteristic of him not to return my calls,'' she said.
Williamson, charged with two counts of murder, was hospitalized in good condition Friday.
Leone, who tackled the gunman, said he pounced after a police shot knocked him down.
``I saw he was trying to reload,'' Leone said. ``I just tackled him.''
Leone, of Budd Lake, N.J., said he believes the bullet that struck his shoulder was fired by police.
UNC-Chapel Hill Police Chief Alana Ennis said the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the shooting.
Police Officer Demetrise Stephenson, who was hit in the left had by the gunman, was hospitalized in good condition Friday.
Leone returned to classes Friday morning.
``I was offended that someone thought they could take out a weapon and start shooting in small town America,'' Leone said.