Two young sisters were shot to death on January 1 after their father committed a suspected murder-suicide.
The girls, Alyse Williams,6, and Ava Williams,9, were reportedly shot inside their apartment in Columbus, Ohio, by their father, 32-year-old Aaron D. Williams —- who then turned the gun on himself in a suspected murder-suicide.
A little before 10:30 p.m. — neighbors called police after hearing sounds of arguing in the Far West Side apartment. Unfortunately, they did not make it in time as the patrol officers who responded to the call heard gunshots after arriving at the scene.
When police entered the home, they found Alyse and Ava, shot.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther informed the Columbus Dispatch how the officers “were nothing short of heroic” as they attempted to save the sisters. Both Alyse and Ava were rushed to OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, where they later died.
Officers also discovered Williams’ body at the apartment. He had suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and at 11:32 p.m., he was pronounced dead by suicide.
Police also discovered a history of domestic violence when it came to Williams’. Back in 2018, the dad pleaded guilty to charges of intent to harm and assault and was given a mere three-day suspended sentence.
“The girls, they were just so bright and full of energy,” said family friend, Erica Osborn. “Every time I knocked on the door … they would come running. The first thing they tell you is that they love you. I just cannot believe they’re gone.”
Osborn said the incident has shocked friends and family, as there were no prior signs leading up to the murder-suicide.
“They were part of a loving family, and this was very unexpected. From every angle we could tell, their father loved them …,” Osborn added. “I just can’t imagine. I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know how he was able to do this to them.”
A GoFundMe page was created to help, Vanecia Shameer Kirkland, their mother, and has since raised more than $40,000 toward expenses.
“We definitely appreciate everyone just supporting the family and Vanecia during this time,” the page’s creator, Osborn, shared in a video on the page. “Continue to keep her and her family and the responders as well as the hospital staff in your prayers. This is definitely a horrific trauma and just hearing it is heartbreaking, so just knowing the people who were around that fought for their lives, we just definitely appreciate it and our prayers go to you as well.”
Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement how authorities were also floored by these tragic deaths.
“Our hearts break for their devastated mother, and all who loved them,” Quinlan said. “Behind every badge is a human — a mother, father, sister or brother. And while we have a job to do — a job we signed up for — we hurt too. We grieve with these families.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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