The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 7, 2013

Reward offered in shooting

Police seek leads in Richland murder

JOHNSTOWN — A $4,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the suspects behind a Richland Township man’s murder.

Richland Township investigators said Monday that Cambria County Crimestoppers is offering $4,000 for information and eventual prosecution of two men they believe targeted 38-year-old Robert T. Williams Jr. that day.

Detective Thomas Keirn said he is hopeful the sum will spur new leads into what he called “a violent, nasty homicide.”

And up to this point, mysterious, too.

Police say they have more questions than answers as to what happened the night Williams was gunned down.

“We’re pursuing different leads and trying to make a determination as to who the people are involved,” Keirn said, noting local surveillance video is being reviewed. “But we’re hoping for help.”

Williams was shot around 8 p.m. Thursday in his Lydia Drive home, possibly by men who knew him, police said.

Williams died Saturday from the injuries.

Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski ruled the death a homicide Sunday following an autopsy that showed he died from two gunshot head wounds.

Kwiatkowski said Williams received no other injuries in the incident.

The Richland Township man is survived by a fiancee, two children, his mother and five sisters, his obituary shows.

“He was a wonderful, big-hearted guy,” his sister, Terri Meek, said.

She said he was much like his father, longtime Greater Johnstown school board member Robert Williams Sr., who died in 1997.

“He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it,” she said, calling her brother a compassionate man “who wanted to provide well for his kids.”

Williams grew up in Horners-town and was a Greater

Johnstown High School graduate, Meek said.

He worked for a Westmoreland County-based tree removal service and also had his own landscaping business, she said.

Williams was an avid Steelers fan who loved cooking and cars, his obituary shows. (The obituary can be viewed on Page B7 or at tribdem.com)

Family members said they do not know why Williams was fatally shot Thursday, or who pulled the trigger.

Williams’ murder is Richland Township’s first in more than 20 years, records show.

It’s still unknown how the pair, described as black men, were able to get inside his home. Robbery might have been the motive, investigators said.

Police are still trying to determine what possessions, if any, were taken, Keirn said.

He declined comment when asked if a weapon was recovered at the scene.

Court records show Williams was charged in the Johnstown area with drug charges in March 2001. He eventually was sentenced to six years in a federal prison.

“At this point, we don’t know if there’s a (correlation) there,” Keirn said. “We’re not ruling anything out.”

Richland Detective Kevin Gaudlip said Williams had been living in the Lydia Street home for about two years but had been living in Richland for at least three.

“What we do know,” Gaudlip said, “is that this was a cold-blooded killing. And this is a concentrated effort to get a resolution to the case as quickly as possible.”

Meek said Williams’ family is praying for answers, and for closure.

“No one deserves to die like this,” she said. “If anyone has information they think might help, please contact the authorities, so my brother can rest in peace.”

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