‘America is very broken right now,’ says dad of IU student slain in New York

Ethan Williams (Photo Provided/Williams Family)

NEW YORK (WCBS) — A young man visiting New York City was shot and killed outside an Airbnb in Brooklyn early Saturday morning.

Twenty-year-old Ethan Williams’ parents say he and his friends put their money together to visit New York City, specifically Brooklyn, a place they dreamed of seeing.

While they were here, they planned to record skateboarding videos.

Williams and his friends were sitting out on the stoop outside their rented Airbnb apartment in Bushwick around 2:30 a.m. when shots were fired, hitting the Indiana University student.

Blaine Cromley says he had known Williams for 10 years.

“We were smoking cigs, man. Like, I don’t know. My heart’s broke,” Cromley said.

Crime scene tape and shell casings could be seen near Bushwick Avenue and Elder Street.

Police say Williams tried running inside but was hit in the chest by at least one bullet.

He was taken to Wycoff Heights Medical Center, where he died.

None of Williams’ friends were hurt.

His parents told CBS2’s Cory James they cannot believe this happened to a young man who worked with their local officials for years to combat violence.

“America is very broken right now. Ethan wanted to be part of the solution. He won’t be,” Ethan’s father, Jason Williams, said.

“He thought a lot about youth violence and gun control, and those issues were very, very important to him,” Ethan’s mother, Susan Williams, said. “And it’s super ironic to me and overwhelming that he’s a story. Like, he’s a story right now.”

It’s a story some neighbors say is all too common.

“I mean, I’m a night type of guy, so it happens a lot,” neighbor Timothy McDonald said.

“It’s not really surprising in a lot of ways, but it is disheartening,” neighbor Dashka Gabriel said.

Ethan Williams also leaves behind two younger siblings.

His family says he just started his sophomore year at IU and wanted to produce films.

“We want justice, obviously, for our son,” Jason Williams said.

“I love you so much, Ethan, and everything I got is going to you now. Everything, man,” Cromley said.

Police are still investigating the incident.

No arrests have been made, and no description of a suspect has been released.

Ethan Williams, 20, of Indianapolis, was visiting New York City when he was shot and killed Oct. 24, 2020, outside an Airbnb in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo from WCBS via CNN).