Dante Williams Was Killed Robbing A Restaurant, But His Family Says He Did Not Deserve To Die [Video]

Jonathan Vankin

Family members of Dante Williams say they have no idea why the 19-year-old robbed a Waffle House restaurant in Chesnee, South Carolina on January 21, 2012. They say he was a good kid who had never been in trouble before. But as surveillance video of the two-year-old robbery was made public this week, Williams' family says it proves that he did not have to die.

They now say they are contemplating a lawsuit against the man who shot the robber, who never faced charges because he was considered justified under South Carolina's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Dante Williams turned 19 the same day he died, shortly after 1 am that morning, shot by a customer who was legally carrying a concealed.45 caliber Glock handgun. The customer, 23-year-old Justin Harrison, initially said that he tried to calm the situation, asking Williams to put his gun down.

He said that Williams then pointed a gun directly at him, and that's when he fired.

But the video shows Williams walking with his gun at his side when Harrison shoots him in the head and chest. Williams family members say he was walking out of the restaurant, and that a wound in the back of Williams' head shows that he was not in a threatening position when Harrison shot him.

Williams walked into the Waffle House that night pointing a gun, along with an accomplice, 29-year-old Kenneth Jowan Craig — who was later convincted of the robbery and sentenced to 30 years. They ordered customers to lie face down on the floor. Williams held the gun while Craig collected the customers' money and valuables into a black bag.

Williams also demanded cash from the register, according to reports of the incident.

Now, with the release of the video, Harrison says that he shot Williams because he was determined not to be victim. He refused the robbers' demands to lie down on the floor.

"They're yelling 'everybody get down, get down' and I'm not getting on the floor. I am not going to be a victim," said Harrison in an interview with Fox Carolina TV news. "This was the only time. If I am going to fight it was that one time. He was approaching me and I saw that as him engaging me."

Dante Wiliams cousin, Tamika McSwain, says the video contradicts Harrison's claim of self defense. She says that it shows her cousin walking out of the Waffle House when Harrison opens fire.

"I understand he felt threatened by the situation," McSwain said. "But he said the gun was pointed at him so he fired. In fact (Dante Williams) was walking out."

But McSwain remains baffled why Dante Williams robbed the Waffle House in the first place.

"He was always sharp, always goofy, loved to dance, he was a respectable boy," the cousin of Dante Williams said. "It still puzzles us as to why he would do something so crazy."

Watch the news report for yourself and you decide — did Dante Williams deserve to die?