TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are searching for the person who shot and killed a man at a Tampa apartment complex Friday.
It happened in the parking lot of the IQ apartments on Bruce B Downs Boulevard.
Family and friends said the man who was killed was 27-year-old Ari Williams. His aunt, Towanda Covington wishes she could go back in time when Williams would stop by to check on her.
“He know his aunt cooking Sunday dinner, so he’s here on Sundays, making sure he get a plate,” Covington said. “It’s unreal, but it’s real.”
She describes her nephew as a good person and always made you laugh.
“Always going to be silly,” Covington said. “Nana you cook? Yeah, that’s my nephew.”
Williams leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter.
“Everything was about his daughter and his family,” Covington said.
Investigators don’t believe the shooting was random. Family and friends believe unfortunately, social media may have contributed to his death. They tell 8 on Your Side he made a post on his Instagram story addressing one or more people, and soon after, he was murdered.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of statement, he didn’t deserve for his life to be taken,” Covington said.
“He shouldn’t have did that, but he also shouldn’t have died because of that either,” Tim Simmons said.
Williams was an up-and-coming rapper who went by Rollie Bands. He filmed one of his latest music videos with Devonte Simmons.
“[We were] Riding around in the newest cars,” Simmons said. “Cars I never thought I’ll never be in. I’m in them.”
Simmons got emotional Tuesday, saying Williams was more than a friend.
“He was like a brother to me,” Simmons said. “Whatever he needed, I had his back and just what it was, you know, and he had my back.”
Simmons said Williams was always trying to help people.
“He’ll ride around, knowing he needs just like the next person need, and he’ll still have a box full of clothes and he’s just handed out to all the homeless people,” Simmons said.
His aunt said the family wants justice.
“His daughter deserves that,” Covington said. “His mom deserves that. Our family deserves that.”
Anyone with information about the shooting or suspects involved is urged to contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813 247-8200. If you would like to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477.