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One hundred six years of editorifreedom
September 23, 1997
LSA senior stabbed to death; DPS shoots and kills assailant
By Stephanie Hepburn
and Mike Spahn
Daily Staff Reporters
An LSA senior was stabbed to death
early this morning in an apparent
domestic violence situation on North
Campus, which ended when a
Department of Public Safety officer
shot her boyfriend to death.
Tamara Sonya Williams, a "talent ed
and gifted" student who planned to cel-
ebrate her 21st birthday on Monday,
was so close to graduating that she had
ordered a class ring this past weekend.
A hard worker, student, and mother,
she balanced classes with a part-time
job, while raising her 2 1/2-year-old
But her life ended in tragedy, when
her live-in boyfriend stabbed her to
death early this morning at her home in
the Northwood apartment building
complex. The incident caused such an
enormous amount of commotion that
numerous neighbors called 911 for
help and tried to break up the dispute
with baseball bats.
When DPS arrived at the 2200 block
of Stone Drive early this morning, they
found Kevin Nelson, 26, outside the
home, standing over Tamara Williams,
20, and repeatedly stabbing her, offi-
cials said. The officer then fired two
shots, killing Nelson, who is not affili-
ated with the University.
Both Williams and Nelson died dur-
ing surgery at University Hospitals.
This is the first time that a DPS offi-
cer has used deadly force in the line of
duty since the campus police force
formed in 1990.
"We had a tragedy last night and we
have the aftermath of that to be dealing
with today," said Elizabeth Hall,
Department of Public Safety
At 12:17 a.m. this morning, DPS
received a call regarding a domestic
dispute at the Northwood Family
Housing Complex on the University's
"I was awakened out of my sleep by
screaming" said Chris Balmann, one
of Williams' neighbors. "I dialed cam-
A number of neighbors heard the
screams and attempted to stop the
"I went out to try to stop it, but when
I was about 15 feet away, I saw the
knife," said Desmond Flagg, a 16-year-
old Northwood resident, whose mother
is a University student. "I just kind of
panicked. I didn't know if he would
come at me."
Flagg said that Nelson did not
acknowledge that he was there, even
when Flagg repeatedly yelled for
Nelson to "get off her."
"Everyone was begging him to get
away from her," Balmann said.
"He just kept yelling 'Look what she
made me do' and 'I've had enough, it's
over,"' Flagg said.
Balmann also heard Nelson "ranting
and raving about dying."
"I ran to the house, called the cops,
and looked for a bat or something"
A DPS officer arrived on the scene
to find Nelson bloody and wielding a
knife. The officer told Nelson to put the
weapon down. When he did not
respond, the officer shot Nelson twice,
fatally wounding him.
"I saw the sparks in the night;" said
Flagg, who had returned to the scene.
Williams lived in the Northwood
complex with her daughter, Kiera, who
is 2 1/2 years old. Nelson, who has
been Williams off-and-on boyfriend for
about three years, moved into the apart-
ment about six months ago.
"They just moved in a little while
ago," Flagg said.
Another neighbor, who asked that
his name be withheld, said that this was
not the first time the two had fought.
"They have a history of fighting. I've
seen Tamara bruised a couple of times,"
A neighbor cries after learning of the death of Tamara Williams, who is pictured In a high school yearbook photo below. Williams was killed by her boyfriend in a violent attack late last night.
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