Family and friends of the 23-year-old paraplegic man who was killed in a shootout with Federal Way police on Dec. 31 are outraged at his death, claiming it was “senseless” as a result of excessive police force.
Malik Williams, of Bothell, died of multiple gunshot wounds during the incident at a Federal Way apartment complex that injured two officers. His manner of death was ruled a homicide.
“I’m disgusted that the federal way police department MURDERED my brother,” Monique Phelps wrote on Facebook the day her brother was killed. “What happened to be a 911 call for disturbance led to some POORLY TRAINED officers shooting my brother 45 times. INSTEAD OF USING De-escalating tactics. I’m SICK. I’m in rage. And for those 7 officers that was involved, I hope you ROT IN HELL. You killed my brother.”
Federal Way police officials could not be reached for immediate comment.
Officers responded to a disturbance call around 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 31 at an apartment complex in the 30800 block of 14th Ave. S. Williams and a female were arguing in the parking lot apartment complex while sitting in a vehicle.
Police said when two officers encountered Williams, he was uncooperative so they called for backup.
“During this encounter our officer was shot and our officers returned fire,” Federal Way Police Chief Andy Hwang said at a press conference held Dec. 31, noting seven officers were involved in the shooting in total. “So there was a gunfight between the suspect and the officers at the scene.”
Hwang was unable to confirm if the Williams’ death was a result of self-inflicted gunfire or gunshots from Federal Way officers.
One officer sustained a gunshot wound to his chest and another to the arm. Another officer was shot in the leg.
The seven officers were subsequently placed on administrative leave pending the results of an independent investigation of the incident by the Valley Investigative Team. The Des Moines Police Department is leading the investigation and could not be reached for immediate comment.
Other family and friends of Williams accused the Federal Way Police Department of hiding information that Williams is a paraplegic. Photos on his Facebook page show him in a wheelchair. Williams, who attended Highline College, also played on adaptive recreation basketball teams, according to his Facebook page.
“Nobody has seemed to mention Malik was a paraplegic, he has been in his wheelchair since he was 14,” stated Terry Adams in a Jan. 7 email to the Mirror. “I imagine him being [uncooperative] might have … had something to do with that. His wheelchair was in the truck, if they asked him to get out he couldn’t. They did murder him.”
Adams added that police fired “over 30 rounds” at Williams, including a bullet that shot an apartment window.
During the Dec. 31 press conference, the Federal Way police chief was unable to confirm the total number of rounds fired by both involved parties, although he said the shooting involved multiple rounds of fire.
“This was a senseless death and we are devastated,” stated Adams, who did not respond to the Mirror regarding her relationship to Williams.
Alejandra Ocampo, who wrote on her Facebook page that she has known Williams for years, posted on the Mirror’s website he was “very much loved and respected in the community.”
“Police are refusing to admit who shot first and withholding the fact that the ‘uncooperative suspect’ was in a [wheelchair] and unable to get out of the car that was shot at by the police 42 times.”
Williams’ sister also expressed her sadness on social media about her brother, noting his death was sad “but there’s a lesson to be learned.”
Phelps outlined her brother was allegedly shot at a transit center in 2012, which she referred to as a second chance from God “to stay out [of] the streets.”
Williams was given a third chance in 2017, she wrote, when he allegedly shot himself and went to jail for carrying a firearm.
“God finally sent him home from the causes of GUN VIOLENCE,” Phelps wrote. “At the end of the day if you live in the streets, you die in the streets … I love my brother and [it’s] his time to rest.”
Phelps urged the community to “pick up a book and take advantage of your life,” saying that life is too short to waste time and hang around people who do not influence you to be better.
She set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds for her brother’s funeral expenses, which has raised $1,190 of a $3,000 goal.