Students, faculty ‘have hope’ after shooting death

Cheryl Williamson

Zirconia Alleyne

A WKU student was killed early Sunday morning after a party in Louisville.

While visiting home for Thanksgiving break, senior Cheryl Williamson, 24, was involved in an argument with two men outside the Gillespie Building, which led to her being shot in the chest.

Louisville Metro Police Department officers were called to the scene near Fifth and West Market streets at about 3:30 a.m.

Dwight Mitchell, public information officer for LMPD, said officers dispersed the crowd, but didn’t find Williamson.

Williamson arrived at University Hospital by private means around 4 a.m. and was rushed into emergency surgery.

Mitchell said she was pronounced dead at about 5:30 a.m.

Although many students were home for the Thanksgiving holiday, news of Williamson’s death spread quickly via social media.

Students mourned the Louisville senior’s death on Twitter with the hashtag “have hope,” an ode to Williamson’s Twitter name, @havehope88.

Among those students was her childhood friend and WKU graduate student Thomas Harris. The pair grew up together in Louisville.

“We lived within walking distance of each other,” Harris said. “Growing up, we used to have a football game between the neighborhoods on the east end of Louisville. We’d trash talk during the game, but afterward we’d all walk to the store to get Grippos and Faygos.”

He said Williamson was the No. 1 cheerleader for her brothers and would even jump in and play sometimes. She had three older brothers, one younger brother and a younger sister.

“She was the rock for her family,” Harris said. “No matter what happened with them she would make it right. She was like that for many students at WKU as well.”

Louisville junior Quanisha Humphrey met Williamson at WKU. She said everybody she knew thought Williamson was an amazing person.

“You didn’t have to see her every day for her to touch your life,” Humphrey said. “She held a lot of friendships together.”

Williamson was the glue that held the 2011 Miss Omega pageant together, Louisville senior Breia Stubblefield said. “She’d always encourage her pageant mates to do better,” Stubblefield said. “I can still see her doing her thing on that stage. She rocked it.”

Fashion merchandising professor Deborah Shivel said she looked forward to seeing Williamson’s outfits in class.

“Whether it be sequin or tulle, it was obvious that Cheryl was a fashionista at heart,” Shivel said.

Harris tweeted a photo from Williamson’s Instagram profile that showed her class schedule for next semester. She was set to graduate in May 2013.

“She worked so hard to get back into school,” he said. “She was overcoming all of her obstacles to achieve her goals.”

Mitchell said the shooting is being investigated as a homicide. There are no suspects at this time.

Anyone with information about the shooting should call 502-574-5673.

Office of Diversity Programs will have a meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 in Gary Ransdell Hall room 2005 to remember Williamson. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.