TAMPA, Fla.- The 2009 killing of Ryan McCall touched the hearts of many. He was a University of Tampa student known for his quick wit and smile, and as a track star his even faster feet.
McCall and a friend were walking home from a party in the early morning hours of August 19th when a man robbed them and then shot McCall.
At a Wednesday morning news conference, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor called the man with the gun a hardened criminal. "He's no model citizen by any stretch," said Castor while detailing a long list of arrests starting at age 11.
Police say from very early on they thought David Earl Williams Jr., 22, could be the gunman, but they didn't have enough evidence to make an arrest. However, a $50,000 reward put up by the law firm of Winters & Yonker loosened lips in the community and even at the Hillsborough County Jail, where fliers had been posted.
So finally, early this month, there was enough evidence to question Williams, who was by now sitting in prison for another crime. It's there detectives say Williams admitted to the robbery and police are tagging him with first degree murder charges, too.
"Although it may take some time to solve these crimes, the Tampa Police Department does not forget," said Castor.
Members of McCall's family who attended the news conference say they never gave up hope for an arrest and they're especially thankful for the tireless work of the lead detective on the case.
"We didn't put a date on the calendar. We just knew it would be here," said Ryan's father Kevin McCall of the arrest day. "What it does for us after this, time will tell. It still doesn't change what happened that morning."
Ryan's friends are also relieved that detectives continued to run down leads. "It doesn't bring Ryan back, but at least we know someone like that is off the streets," said Kevin Harley, a track teammate.
Yes, there's been an arrest, but it does not fill the hole in hearts and McCall's family can only remember what they've now been missing for nearly three years. "He just had a good heart, always wanted to give back," says Ryan's brother, Kevin McCall Jr. "Always put a smile on everybody's face and that's how we want everyone to remember Ryan."