Denver Cornerback Killed in Drive-By Shooting
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
A player for the Denver Broncos was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Denver early this morning. Twenty-four-year-old cornerback Darrent Williams was riding in a Humvee limousine just after two in the morning when a vehicle pulled up alongside the limo and sprayed it with bullets.
According to Denver police, the shooting followed a dispute between Broncos teammates and others at a nightclub after the Broncos' last game of the season. We are joined now from Bronco headquarters in Englewood, Colorado, by Preston Parsons, he is back up quarterback with the Broncos, and Bill Rader, the team chaplain. Welcome to you both.
Mr. PRESTON PARSONS (Denver Broncos): Thank you.
Mr. BILL RADER (Denver Broncos): Hello.
BLOCK: And I'm very sorry for you lost.
Mr. PARSONS: Thank you.
BLOCK: Preston, can you tell us more about you've heard about what happened before the shooting?
Mr. PARSONS: Yeah. Like, you know, like you said, I heard there was an altercations that the club and from what I understand, it kind of - after the club closed that it kind of spilled outside. And the guys on the team and everyone there with, you know, walked away. And they do it and I think, you know, everyone tells you to do, what you're supposed to do. Walk away.
They got in their limousines and they left, and apparently whoever this person was had a different idea and followed the limo.
BLOCK: Preston, as word of what happened circulated, what does the team do? What do you do when something like this happen?
Mr. PARSONS: You know, I was home by myself, my wife is out of town. And I just - I felt the need to drive to the facility and just be around your teammates, your brothers. And I think, a number of the guys had the same idea, so a number of us gathered and just, you know, talked about what happened and then just - we don't want to be by ourselves. You want to be with your teammates.
BLOCK: And Bill Rader, as the team chaplain, what do you do to try to guide the players and everyone else through this time?
Mr. RADER: Well, you know, there's no formula here. And it's about loving all your friends. And so as Preston said maybe the first step is just to be together, and hearing stories. Telling stories, mostly really fond memories of a friend that's no longer with us. A lot of quietness, a lot of silence, letting the gravity of the situation hit us.
BLOCK: Preston, what was Darrent Williams's style of play? How would you describe him?
Mr. PARSONS: You know, Darrent, I mean, he is just - the best way to describe Darrent is he was probably the smallest guy in the field, but he had a heart twice his size. To a feeling, you think someone small in stature isn't going be as good a football player, but he had so much heart. He picked a lot of the guys' spirits up because, you know, then I saw this, you know, little guy in stature can do it then, you know, why couldn't we?
BLOCK: I saw a photo of him today with an outrageous haircut. I think it was mohawk. It sounds like he was something of a wise guy.
Mr. PARSONS: Yeah. He called it a frohawk hairstyle. He brought that up in one of the games and had a great game and that's be his thing and let - a lot of the other guys took to it and wanted to see that every week.
BLOCK: He talked in an interview about having had a tough childhood in Fort Worth, Texas, running with gang members in high school, but then turning himself around, going on to Oklahoma state and then second round draft pick with the Broncos in 2005. Bill Rader, did Darrent Williams talked to you about he'd come from and how far he'd come?
Mr. RADER: In detail, no, but I got bits and pieces from him just in lunch conversations and in times that we would sit together, and I just know that there was never an athlete that you'd run into that was more grateful to wear a pro uniform. I think he really felt blessed to have had a career he had in Oklahoma State, and then to be a part of this team. And I didn't hear great stories about Fort Worth and childhood, but I know it wasn't easy, and he let me know it wasn't easy.
BLOCK: What does the team do now? Your season is over with the loss last night. What happens now?
Mr. PARSONS: You know, well - we have today off and we are scheduled to get together tomorrow. And I would assume that if not all, then most of the players would go to where the funeral is, probably, Fort Worth, Texas. And you know, go pay their respects to one of our brothers.
BLOCK: Well, Preston Parsons and Bill Rader, thanks for talking with us and again we're very sorry for your loss.
Mr. PARSONS: Thank you very much.
Mr. RADER: Thank you.
BLOCK: Preston Parsons is a quarterback with the Denver Broncos. Bill Rader is the team chaplain. They were talking about their teammate Darrent Williams, who is killed in drive-by shooting early this morning in Denver.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.