Family disputes neighbor’s self-defense claim after fatal St. Louis shooting


ST. LOUIS – A south St. Louis family is outraged after a young father is shot and killed while his neighbor claims self-defense. The shooting has anguished the surviving family, who wants the man off the street.

A cellphone video captured the moments when police say a 63-year-old man shot and killed his next-door neighbor late Friday afternoon.

St. Louis Police rushed to the 4000 of Hydraulic Avenue in south St. Louis around 6:00 p.m. and found 23-year-old Craig Williams with several gunshot wounds. Williams died at the scene.

“He was not a police officer. It was no reason for him to be out here. If you felt like it was a threat and he was so dangerous, why did you not call police? That’s my big question,” said Lavanya Jones.

According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 63-year-old said he shot Williams because he saw the 23-year-old choking his pregnant girlfriend outside their home and felt he had to intervene. The shooter also told investigators he saw Williams pull out an AK-47.

Williams’ family and his girlfriend, Melissa Renfrow, dispute that she was being choked. They also say Williams never took his gun out of the car.

Renfrow told police Williams did not put his hands on her and that she was almost due to give birth. She says they’d argue but things never got physical.

The family said the shooter was taken in by police for questioning and then released.

“That was not self-defense, it was like an execution,” Renfrow said. “…He was shot in the car. He was about to leave. Police told my mom the only person that was not going home that day was Craig.”

Williams’ family wants to know why the man who took matters into his own hands is not behind bars.

According to the police report, four people—two women and two men—were victims and William was the suspect.

A police spokesperson would only say it’s an ongoing investigation. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office will check to see if there is a case that has been brought in by the police.

In the meantime, the Williams family has created a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.


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