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As a Canton family goes through first holiday without their dad and husband, religious leaders surprise them

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Posted at 9:45 PM, Dec 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-17 23:17:10-05

CANTON, Ohio — The holiday season is supposed to be about joy, love and family. For the family of James Williams, this Christmas is different. It’s the first one without a crucial member of their family.

Marquette Williams is James’ wife.

“It’s very emotional and it’s bittersweet because we had our patriarch for all of our holidays, Thanksgivings, Christmas, birthdays and we don’t have that no more,” she said.

James Williams, 46, died shortly after midnight on News Year Day. Canton Police were called to his residence for reports of gunfire. Investigators said Williams was firing a rifle into the air to celebrate 2022. When a police officer arrived and responded to the gunfire, he shot through the family’s fence and killed Williams.

His death caused outrage and support for the Williams family, Pastor Randall Winn is included in that support. He is the pastor at Christ the King Apostolic Church in Canton.

“It’s been a year since the tragedy and sometimes we let the memory of what happened fade and we forget about those that are left behind,” he said.

Winn, Rev. Jessie Jones of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Massillon and Pastor Dwight Mason of New Pointe Church in Dover wanted the Williams to know that this holiday season, and every day, they’re thinking of them.

They surprised James’ wife Marquetta and their three daughters with presents.

“We just basically adopted them for this Christmas season and went out and bought gifts for the family, just to allow them to have some time off, some enjoyment,” said Winn.

Winn said giving is the reason for the season, not just presents but being present.

“This is a time for giving. It’s a time for thinking about others,” he said. “Do something for somebody that you know may not be able to do anything back for us.”

Marquetta said while this may be the first Christmas without her husband, and that is heartbreaking, she is not without love they’re still surrounded by friends and family.

“Before my husband got killed I didn’t know any of these people. After he got killed they all came and showed support, moral support, emotional support, physical support, just support period,” she said. “They’re like my extended family. I look at them as family.”

The Canton officer who shot Williams did not face any criminal charges after a grand jury declined to indict them back in September. The Williams family is in an ongoing civil suit against the officer and the city of Canton.

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