Miramar, FL – September 15, 2011 – A man’s attempt to stop a repo man from towing his neighbor’s car early Thursday cost him his life, his family and neighbors said.
According to Miramar Police, Jewell Omar Williams, 26, a father of two who worked for a glass company, was pronounced dead at Memorial Regional Hospital after he and a repossession agent exchanged gunfire about 12 a.m Thursday, as a repossession agent was attempting to recover a 2005 Dodge Magnum located on the 6200 block of Southwest 27 Street when he was approached by Jewell Williams, 25,. Police said the car belonged to Williams’ neighbor.
Sandra Salmon said she raised Williams since he was five years old. “Jewell will never, ever, ever threaten somebody’s life,” said Salmon. “So, I know he felt threatened. I know that.”
Police said there was a confrontation between the repo agent and Williams. A witness, who does not want to be identified said, “The guy dropped whatever he was doing on the tow truck and started running to him. He pulled out his gun, I thought it was a taser, he pulled out his gun and started running up the street towards him in this direction, and Jewell obviously retaliated and shot back.”
According to police, in their initial investigation it shows that Williams shot at the repossession agent. “Evidence does show us that Mr. Williams did pull out a firearm and fired at the repossession agent,” said Miramar Police spokeswoman Tania Rues. “Why he did so, I can’t really speculate on that.”
Florida has almost 1,000 repossession agents and is one of the few states that requires agents to be licensed and trained. Miramar police said the agent involved in Thursday’s shooting had identification showing he was licensed.
Williams had no criminal history, state records show. And he was licensed to have a firearm, said his friends, who planned a candlelight vigil Thursday night to remember him.
“Everybody who knows Jewell knows him as a good citizen. He was a lively person, so we want to keep his spirit alive,” his friend, Shaw, said. “Hopefully, justice will be served in due time. He lost his life just trying to protect someone, just trying to be a good neighbor ”
The repo man told police Williams cursed and obstructed him from removing a 2005 Dodge Magnum that he was trying to reclaim. Then, he said, Williams fired multiple shots at him.
The repo man walked back to his vehicle to retrieve his own firearm and fired back, police said. Williams suffered several gunshot wounds, police said.
Under state law, agents cannot carry a firearm on private property during a repossession regardless of whether they have a concealed weapons permit. They also cannot use force or threats to recover a vehicle. When police responded to the shooting in Miramar, they found the Dodge Magnum parked on public property, Rues said.
Ferdinand, the neighbor, said the repo man arrived in a black tow truck that may have been unmarked. Before Williams and the repo man had the confrontation, Ferdinand said heard the noisy truck outside his home, stepped outside and saw the repo man readying to tow the car.
“He told me, ‘You need to step back, or I’ll Taze you.’ That’s not my business, so I stepped back,” Ferdinand said. “All of sudden, I heard Jewell shouting down the street, ‘You need to tell people when you’re towing away a car! You can’t just tow people’s car away like that. You need to identify yourself.’”
Authorities said Williams died at the hospital.