Victim's family speaks on 1-year anniversary of South Bend mass shooting

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:16 PM EDT
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Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary since a deadly mass shooting happened in South Bend. It took place outside Kelly's Pub on Mishawaka Avenue in the early morning hours of June 23, 2019.

11 people were shot, including 27-year-old Brandon Williams, of Niles, who died. Williams' older brother held him as he was dying, said Joann Milligan, their mother.

"And now, I'll never see him again, never watch him get married, never watch him have kids," Milligan explained. "That's a hard thing."

Milligan described her son as a quiet and artistic soul, who enjoyed family, art, and being kind to others. His friends told Milligan he would give the shirt off his back if someone was in need. He was a homebody. Milligan said Williams' first visit to Kelly's Pub was the morning he was killed.

"They really got the wrong one this time -- really," emphasized Reta Smith, Williams' cousin.

Since June 23, 2019, Williams' family is trying to mend the pain by raising awareness about gun violence and sharing the grief with others who have been affected by these tragedies.

"[It's] something that you think would never happen. You know, it does happen," conceded Tiara Williams, Brandon's sister.

While Brandon's family is frustrated by the widespread occurrence of gun violence, Milligan said she has forgiven her son's killer -- or killers -- who has yet to be found.

"I forgive you. I forgave you when I found out Brandon was gone," said Milligan. "But now they have to deal with their souls and their thoughts because [there] was a lot of people out there who got shot."

The family is also grateful for emergency personnel on scene and at the hospital last year.

"[I want to] give a shout out to the other people who were there on June 23 -- the EMTs, the doctors, the nurses, you know, the police officers, detectives. It had to be a mess out there that night," said Milligan.

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, an event will take place along the East Race in South Bend to honor the victims of the mass shooting.

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