College student visiting New York shot, killed outside of Airbnb

NEW YORK — A college student from Indiana died after he was struck by a stray bullet during his first trip to New York, his family said.

Ethan Williams, a sophomore at Indiana University, saved up all summer for a plane ticket to New York, his family told WABC-TV. The aspiring filmmaker went to the city, a place he dreamed of living in at some point, to film a documentary.

“There are these photography shots he wanted to get [that] only San Francisco [and] New York had,” his father said. “And so he finally got the opportunity go to New York, and he got there this week and they rented an Airbnb. I don’t think they knew what part of town they were in. It was as cheap. You know, four or five guys ... going in together on it. And he was there and just trying to have fun with his friends.”

Williams, 20, and his friends rented an Airbnb in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.

Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, the friends sat talking on the stoop of the home when someone began firing bullets, WLNY reported. The group attempted to run inside the rental unit.

Officials said at least seven shots were fired, with one bullet striking Williams in the chest.

He was rushed to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead.

Williams' father told WABC his son cared deeply about poverty and violence in Indiana.

“He had a massive, massive heart. He loved people a lot,” his father told WABC. “There’s irony to me that that was the life that was taken. You know, the life of someone that wanted to give his life back to helping people.”

“America is very broken right now. Ethan wanted to be part of the solution. He won’t be,” he told WLNY.

“He thought a lot about youth violence and gun control, and those issues were very, very important to him,” Williams’ mother, Susan Williams, told WLNY. “And it’s super ironic to me and overwhelming that he’s a story. Like, he’s a story right now.”

Police do not believe the incident was targeted and have not yet made any arrests in the case.

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