VALDOSTA -- A Valdosta man shot his mother early Friday and shot himself despite police efforts to investigate a murder and prevent a suicide.
Roderick Williams, 23, and his mother, Delorise Wright, 39, both of 1001 Hideaway St., Apt. C-2, each died from a single shot from a .20 gauge shotgun, said Lt. Brian Childress, public information officer with the Valdosta Police Department. Williams' body is being autopsied, he said.
"We responded to a 911 call at 3:03 a.m., where we made contact with Roderick Williams who had advised the dispatcher that he had shot his mother and believed she was deceased," Childress said.
Williams shot himself at approximately 6:18 a.m., three hours after hostage negotiators established contact with him. Police also deployed the 10-member Tactical team.
"We negotiated with Williams over three hours trying to get him to put down his weapon," Childress said. "We also attempted to subdue him with a taser, which was ineffective. Williams returned to the apartment, retrieved the weapon and shot himself."
During Williams' standoff with police, members of his family, some of whom live in the same apartment complex, were evacuated to the corner of Smith and Lilly streets. Kevin Williams, Roderick's first cousin, lives in the apartment beneath C-2. Friday afternoon, he stood outside his place talking with neighbors about the day's events and his cousin.
"Roderick was the nicest person you'd ever want to meet," Williams said. "He was by my apartment a few hours before."
Williams said two hours passed while they waited behind the apartment. He said he finally called Wright's cell phone and Roderick answered, but police asked him to hang up.
"He told me he would come down, but he was scared and if someone would come get him, he would surrender," Williams said. "We could have talked him down, but they didn't give us a chance. (Police) kept telling us they were highly trained professionals and they had their best men on the job. Just look what (their) best men got us."
Childress said the family was allowed to talk with Roderick, but it seemed to make the situation worse.
"We initially allowed him to talk with family members," Childress said. "At one point, family members were interfering with our attempts to get the weapon away. Our primary hostage negotiator was able to get him to put the gun down on several occasions. While he was talking with family members, he would threaten himself with the gun."
Williams said he didn't hear the first shot that killed Wright. He said none of the family was sure what caused Roderick to shoot his mother.
"(Delorise Wright) made you wish you had a mother like her," Williams said. "She would give her children the world or die trying. We're really a tight-knit family"
This was not Roderick's first suicide attempt, Williams said. He said that three or four months earlier, Roderick had attempted to cut his own wrists. However, Williams said he thought things in Roderick's life had gotten better.
"We went to our uncle's funeral (Thursday), and when we came back, he was trying to cheer up our cousin whose dad died," Williams said. "The sad thing is his sister lost her mother and brother today, and he has two children under 5."
Childress said Roderick Williams was a suspect in another case that is still active, but would not comment on the nature of the case.
Childress said Chief Frank Simons requested an internal affairs investigation to ensure that officers did everything according to procedure. Childress also said that anytime the Tactical team was deployed, a special report was filed. Also, the use of the taser requires a report.
"We are real proud of our hostage negotiators for establishing a three-hour dialogue," Childress said. "We came really close to resolving the issue. Our thoughts go out to the family at this time."
To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.
React to this story:
- Lowndes man pleads guilty to federal firearms charge
- More than 300 quarantined in Lowndes County Schools
- Boat builder bringing 90 jobs to Valdosta
- SGMC reports four virus deaths Thursday
- Drug bust nets suspects from Lowndes, Lanier, Tift counties
- Update: County office temporarily closes for COVID-19 exposure
- South Georgia signs up thousands for vaccine
- City school board extends virus sick leave, tables facilities plan
- SGMC reports three virus deaths Sunday
- Lowndes COVID-19 cases surpass 6,600