Vigil held for Casselberry teen killed in shooting

By Erin Murray, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 03, 2018, 11:33 AM EST

Roughly, 100 people came to Lake Hodge Park to remember Bryce Williams, 17, on Tuesday.

The teen was found on New Years' Day with a gunshot wound to his head after he crashed into a home, according to the Casselberry Police Department.

Now police are offering a $5,000 reward for anyone with information.

Williams' mother was embraced by many people Tuesday.

"Bryce was funny, the clown. He always knew how to pick people up. He was there for all his friends," said Kim Crow. "I am truly moved that he touched so many people that they felt the urge to come out and celebrate him. It’s amazing."

Just after 8 p.m. on Monday, a blue four-door Kia crashed into a home at 900 Osceola Trail, police said. When officers arrived, they found the teenage driver with a single gunshot wound to his head, stated Cmdr. Michael Schaefer in a news release.

The shooting happened at Lake Hodge Park, where the 17-year-old driver and a 16-year-old girl, who as riding with him, were waiting to meet up with friends, investigators explained.

The 16-year-old girl said three men walked up to their car, and one of them shot the boy in the head. The boy tried to drive away, but he crashed into a home not far away.

Officers performed CPR on the boy, later identified as Williams, until the Seminole County Fire Department arrived, but he died, Schaefer stated.

"Why it happened we don't know. We are certainly going to try our best effort to determine motive behind this and identify the subject. But this is a tragedy," said Casselberry Police Chief Larry Krantz. "We now have a family that does not have their 17-year-old son no longer with them, and that's a tragedy under any set of circumstances."

The reason for the shooting is still unclear. Krantz said Williams was known to their officers for non-violent criminal allegations laid against him. He also said a small amount of marijuana was found in his vehicle.

Police search for suspects

Casselberry investigators have a suspect list of three males, either in their late teens or early 20s, and a female of unknown age seen leaving the area in a dark-colored passenger car.

"It just all happened really fast. I didn't know who they were. I've never seen them before in my life. They had masks on," said Matthew Mowder, a boy in the victim's car.

Those three masks are all Mowder sees, because those men are the ones he said were behind his friend Williams' death.

"He said we were supposed to meet some girl at the park or something like that, and I saw them clearly so I said, 'Bryce, lock your doors, something is happening,'" Mowder said.

Mowder said he thinks the three men were waiting for Williams to pull up because when he did, they yanked his car door open and shot him in the neck.

"He tried to drive away with his last breath, and he went through the fence, hit the wall, and I jumped out," Mowder said, also adding that he was grateful Williams was able to get away from the shooter and allow his friends to escape.

Mowder ran off and another teen hid in the car as Williams succumbed to his gun shot wound.

Now Mowder said the loss of Williams has left a hole in his life, one his friends said will never go away, especially now that those masked men are still out there with their identities unknown.

"There's no peace ... Just finding the people who did it helps a little bit, but it doesn't bring back what happened," Mowder said.

On Tuesday afternoon, reward posters went up at Lake Hodge Park. They are searching for any information on the three masked men involved and one young woman they believe to also be connected. The shooter was last seen wearing a sweatshirt and beanie with a pom at the top.

In 2017, Casselberry Police handled two homicides. This year, 2018, has begun with one homicide at the very start of the year.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call Casselberry Police Investigator Cpl. Matthew Fields at 407-262-7616, ext. 1006, or Crimeline at 1- 800-423-TIPS (8477).