Franklinton shooting victim's family says the system failed her

Friday, July 31, 2015
Franklinton shooting victim's family says the system failed her
Tracy Williams

FRANKLINTON, NC (WTVD) -- Hundreds of people showed up for a vigil in downtown Franklinton Thursday evening wearing purple in honor of Tracy Williams.

Williams was gunned down at an ATM in a Food Lion parking lot Sunday evening.

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"Tracy was a fighter. She would fight for anybody, and I know she fought him. She fought him all the way to the end," said Michelle Williams, Tracy's sister.

Franklinton police say Garry Yarborough, Williams' ex-boyfriend, pulled the trigger.

"If I could go into a room with him by myself, just the two of us, somebody wouldn't come out. Whether it would be me or him I don't know. Oh my goodness," shared Tracy's mother Catherine Williams.

Yarborough, who was arrested the next morning at a hotel in Raleigh, has a criminal record listing 89 arrests. One of them is an accessory to murder charge.

Williams had filed protective orders against him in three counties: Johnston, Wake and Franklin. The one in Wake County was filed after he allegedly kidnapped her. She even bought a gun.

A vigil for Tracy Williams

Tracy's mother said one particular time after Yarborough bonded out and she and her daughter went to file a protective order in Franklin County, the magistrate asked them why was he out.

"'He's a federal felon so why is he out?' We couldn't answer those questions. We're not the justice system. We don't know why he's out," said Catherine.

Her family said Tracy did everything but go into hiding, and that's because - according to her mom - family meant everything to her.

"She knew she would have to lose all contact with her family and that wasn't her. Family was important to her. She said 'I'm not letting him take my family,'" said Catherine.

No matter what, Tracy's family said she could not get him to leave her alone.

A vigil for Tracy Williams

"He would text and send messages to my niece, tell everybody to get a black dress, tell Tracy we're going to make history," said Michelle.

"She would call the detectives and let them know and they never returned her phone calls," said Catherine. "Somewhere along the line the system failed her."

It's that system, Monica Kearney, the Executive Director of Safe Space in Franklin County, said she hopes Tracy's death will change.

Safe Space is a non-profit that works to help survivors of domestic violence.

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"It causes us to take a look back and say 'Why?' and 'What could we have done?', but we hope that out of this it'll bring some more attention to what needs to happen in that area," said Kearney.

A vigil for Tracy Williams

"Right now, she's fighting for other people, for domestic violence, cause it can't happen to anyone else again, we have to change the laws, we have to protect our sisters," said Michelle.

Yarborough has since been charged with first-degree murder.

A viewing for Tracy is planned for Friday evening.

PHOTOS: Yarborough surrenders

RAW VIDEO: Yarborough surrenders