Report: Gang member's letter relates shooting of Broncos' Williams

Updated: May 30, 2008, 7:36 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

DENVER -- A letter purportedly written by a "person of interest" in the fatal shooting of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams says he fired shots into Williams' limousine when he was killed on New Year's Day 2007.

[+] EnlargeDarrent Williams
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesA letter reportedly describing the shooting of Darrent Williams bears the signature of Willie D. Clark, who is in jail awaiting trial on drug charges.
The Rocky Mountain News said Friday it obtained the letter, which carries a signature of "Willie D. Clark." Denver police have said Clark worked for an alleged gang leader who owned the SUV believed to have been used in the shooting.

The newspaper published a redacted excerpt of the letter reading, "[Blank] might say somethin stupd talk to law enforcements about the death of D-Will [Williams] [Blank] seen me withe gun + shoot out the whip [car]."

Williams, a 24-year-old former Oklahoma State standout, was killed when his rented limousine was sprayed with bullets minutes after leaving a New Year's party at a downtown Denver club.

Police and witnesses say Williams was at the club with other Broncos and members of the Denver Nuggets when people in their group exchanged words with two men who flashed gang signs.

No one has been arrested or charged in Williams' slaying.

Clark was arrested on a parole violation days after Williams' death and is in jail awaiting trial on drug charges.

According to the report, a nationally certified handwriting expert hired by the News said the letter in question matched one written previously by Clark to the paper and another written to a judge earlier this month.

"I think it's all the same writer, period," said Linda Collins James of Plano, Texas, according to the report.

In one letter to the newspaper, Clark denied he was involved in Williams' death or being involved in drugs or a gang.

Clark's attorney, Alaurice Tafoya-Modi, did not immediately return a call Friday, and the News said she didn't return a call from the newspaper after she was faxed a copy of the letter. District Attorney Mitch Morrissey declined to comment.

The News said it obtained the letter from a Denver man who claimed he intercepted it while serving time where Clark was being held. The newspaper said the man, who has since been released, also turned the letter over to law enforcement.

The News said it was not identifying the man because he could be in danger for providing the letter.

The man told the newspaper he has met twice with state and federal prosecutors, and that the district attorney's office offered him money to relocate if he cooperates.

The man rejected the offer and sought more money because of the danger to him and his family. He also hoped to share in a $100,000 reward offered by the Broncos, the News reported.

"Rosalind [Williams' mother] is emotional about this news, but she is also very hopeful," said family spokesman Troy Asmus. "It was such a great day here [Thursday] and while this is shocking, she seeks justice and this could be a big step."

Police have said little publicly about why they consider Clark a person of interest. Investigators say the fatal shots were fired from an SUV registered to Brian Hicks, a man they say was a gang leader who ran a drug ring that employed Clark.

Hicks was behind bars at the time of the shooting. The SUV was found abandoned a few days later.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan declined to comment on the specifics of the News story Friday, but said: "It's sure a nice first step to see something like that. And hopefully justice will prevail."

Shanahan praised the police investigation and said detectives wouldn't make a move until they believe they have a solid case.

"They just aren't going to arrest someone to arrest someone," he said. "They are working on it very diligently and hopefully this is a first step."

On Thursday, the Broncos opened the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center in Denver, a collaboration between the team and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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