CHESTER, SC — The Chester City Council is talking about ways to honor a Councilman killed in a gang drive-by shooting. It comes after the Sheriff declared war on gangs, and arrested four suspects in Odell Williams’ murder.
Odell Williams served on City Council since 1997. So the sting of his death is still felt in Chester. WCCB’s Audrina Bigos talked to his fellow council members about how they want to honor his legacy, and how they plan to move the city forward.
“We lost someone who championed this community,” said Chester Mayor Wanda Stringfellow. Odell Williams left a mark on the city and council members want to honor his commitment.
“Councilman Williams thrived on the community being pretty and clean,” continued the Mayor. “Every year, he would donate flowers to be planted in downtown Chester.”
Mayor Stringfellow wants to create a memorial garden in his name, while other members want to purchase bleachers to put in the S.L. Finley building.
“Council Williams stated, ‘I would like to see bleachers put back or some bleacher put in.’ You’re going to put bleachers in the building, but nobody’s going to ever see them,” said Councilman William Killian. “The building ain’t in use now.”
Council members could not agree on a memorial for Williams Monday night, but they are moving forward to fill his open seat. Filing opens December 1 for a February special election. It’s a tough conversation for the council that is still mourning its loss, but Mayor Stringfellow has a message for the community. “This community cannot live in fear; we cannot govern in fear,” she said.
Sheriff Alex Underwood has still not released a motive in the November 4th murder, where police say Williams was gunned down on Roundtree Circle by members of a neighborhood gang.
“I’m hoping that the Sheriff comes up with everyone who was involved with this and put them in jail, because if they did that, they need to be prosecuted,” said Councilman Killian.
There was some relief Monday night; the Sheriff’s Office said it’s confident that all who were involved with Williams’ murder are in custody. Underwood says this is an ongoing investigation, and it’s the highest priority for his office.