Business owners honor homeless man killed on Dowling Street

- A lot of questions after a man was shot and left in the street where he died.  Now business owners are coming together for the man who was murdered.

'Trent Williams was gunned down on Dowling Street on Friday'.  Although that's what happened that sentence sounds like such a headline and company owners in the area say Mr. Williams' passing deserves much more than a violent headline.  "It's really heartbreaking," says Mass Appeal By Episodes salon owner Donita Conner.  When Conner heard a broadcast about the 51 year old's murder it was nearly as upsetting as the shooting itself.  "The announcement was 'Oh a homeless man and ex drug addict got killed on Dowling' but he was so much more," explains Conner. 

Ask just about any business owner in Third Ward and they'll tell you the man they called Slim was also a huge blessing to them.  "He cleaned up. He took out the trash.  He would quote bible versus and all kind of things.  He helped my son with multiplication facts.  He would throw the football around with the kids," adds Conner. 

"He'd just come out here, clean up the sidewalk, clean up the parking lot, sweep," explains Cornell Mathis with Midtown Grill on Ennis near Blodgett.

"He came to fold towels for us, clean up when we were busy.  He always came by.  He passed out business cards for us.  He was like family," says husband and wife Lakendrick and Kionia Giddins owners of Fades and Braids salon.

"He'd help out so much and he wouldn't ask for money.  He would give young men with good grades $1 or $2 even though he didn't have money to give," adds Mathis.

Friday around 7:00 p.m. Williams was headed from cleaning at one salon to help Conner at her shop but he never made it.  Someone shot him twice in the torso as he walked on Dowling Street.

 "My husband said I'm just trying to figure out why," says Conner.

"It hurts that he's gone," adds Mathis.

The Saturday before he was killed Williams delivered an impromptu outdoor sermon in Third Ward.  A crowd gathered to listen to him speak and sing.  "He sound so nice, like really nice.  He could sing I can tell you that, really well," smiles Mr. and Mrs. Giddins.   Conner made a cross and plans to put it on Dowling in Williams' memory.

"I do know he knew God. So I know where he is.  So that kind of helps the heartbreak," says Conner.

Houston police investigators say they're not sure why Williams was shot.  Witnesses saw a red sedan speeding away from the shooting.  Third Ward residents say Wiliams would also pump gas for women, help men change tires and describe him as an all around good samaritan.

Williams' sister says her brother was homeless, had beaten a drug addiction and he had been drug free for some time.

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