A team of grief counselors was at Timber Drive Elementary in Garner on Monday to help those affected by Friday’s fatal shooting of Michele Kennington Williams, a kindergarten teacher at the school.
Meanwhile, her estranged husband, David Sloan Williams, 55, made his first court appearance Monday on a charge of murder.
Williams, outfitted in a faded, red and white-striped jail jumpsuit, with his wrists and ankles in shackles, stood before Wake County District Court Judge Jacqueline Brewer, who told him he could face the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison without parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
Brewer ordered that he be held in the Wake County jail without benefit of bail. David Williams is represented by the State Capital Defenders Office.
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Michele Williams, who was 51, had worked in Wake County Public Schools since August 2008, according to the school district. She started at Smith Elementary in Raleigh and also worked at Powell Elementary in Raleigh and Forestville Road Elementary in Knightdale. She transferred to Timber Drive Elementary in Garner in 2012.
“All of us at Timber Drive Elementary and our entire school community are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear colleague, our friend, Michele Williams,” said Timber Drive Elementary School Principal Kim Burton in a statement Saturday. “She was a dedicated, hardworking, and loving teacher who gave her students the gift of her smile each and every day. Our hearts go out to Michele’s family and friends.”
Police responded about 6:38 p.m. Friday to multiple reports of shots fired near the 1200 block of Collington Drive in Cary, said Capt. Randall Rhyne of the Cary Police Department. When officers arrived to the Pirates’ Cove townhome community, they found Michele Williams dead in her car, police said.
David Williams, who lives in Raleigh, turned himself in to police about 7:15 p.m., Cary police said. He approached an officer at nearby Cary Towne Center and said police might want to speak with him, Rhyne said Friday night.
Michele Williams is described in her obituary as “a loving, devoted mother who would do anything for those she cared about.”
Allison Williams, the Williams’ daughter, released a statement over the weekend, saying her mother was her “very best friend,” according to ABC11.
“I love her more than anyone in the world,” Allison Williams said. “To know my mom was to love her. Mom’s family, friends and students were so very lucky to know her. My mommy may not be physically with me anymore, but I know that she lives on in the hearts of the many, many people that love her.”
A series of shots
Six 911 calls released over the weekend describe the chaos at the end of the cul-de-sac in the neighborhood off Southeast Maynard Road, not far from Cary Towne Center.
Witnesses said a man got out of his car and fired several shots at one of the townhouses and at another car before driving off, police said.
A woman who was at the scene told a 911 operator she could see Michele Williams through the window of the car where she had been shot and that it appeared Williams had suffered multiple bullet wounds. The caller said Michele Williams was still moving, though not alert, between 6:39 and 6:42 p.m. Friday evening.
Another caller reported at 6:38 p.m. hearing “six or seven shots” and seeing a man in a hooded top and jeans in a nearby parking lot holding a “long gun, that looked like it maybe had a rifle sight.”
“Is it a real gun, or is it like a BB gun?” the operator asked.
“No, it is real. It is loud, and it has been six or seven shots,” the caller said. “I don’t want him to get in and hurt somebody in their house.”
Different callers reported hearing between six and “at least 10” shots. One said a bullet had come through the door of her house.
On Friday, Rhyne said “several” shots were fired, though he couldn’t say how many.
Police said Michele Williams was staying at a home on the 1200 block of Collington Drive in Cary at the time of the incident, though that wasn’t her permanent residence.
Williams was born in Lancaster, S.C., according to her obituary. On a website Michele Williams created for her class, she said she had been married for 28 years.
In addition to her daughter, Allison, she is survived by her parents, Patricia and Robert Greer; her brother Chuck Kennington; and three stepsisters.
The funeral is set for Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 a.m. at South Hills Baptist Church, 6400 Holly Springs Road in Raleigh, followed by a graveside service. The family will receive friends at 9:30 a.m.
A memorial fund will be established in Michele Williams’ honor, according to the obituary.
Staff writer Thomasi McDonald contributed.
Gargan: 919-460-2604; @hgargan