Video shows shotgun-wielding firefighter after shooting - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Video shows shotgun-wielding firefighter after shooting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A judge in the first-degree murder trial of a former Memphis firefighter watched a home video showing the defendant pacing his driveway and carrying a shotgun shortly after he shot and killed emergency workers who responded to a fire at his home.

The one-minute video taken by a neighbor March 8, 2000, ends with Frederick Williams being wounded by a sheriff's deputy less than 10 yards away.

"He pulled a gun on me after being told at least three times to drop the weapon. It was time to do something," said deputy Winfred Earl Blankenship.

The video and testimony came Tuesday on the second day of Williams' trial before Criminal Court Judge Arthur Bennett who will decide whether Williams is guilty of four counts of first-degree murder or not guilty by reason of insanity. Williams waived his right to a jury trial.

He faces up to life in prison or indefinite commitment to a mental facility.

Williams, 47, has spent the past four years at a mental health facility in Nashville being treated for paranoid schizophrenia and other issues.

He has admitted fatally shooting his wife, Stacey Williams, as well as fellow firefighters Javier Lerma and William Blakemore and sheriff's deputy Rupert Peete Jr.

Prosecutors said Williams shot his wife four times, set the house on fire and then ambushed Peete, Lerma and Blakemore as they arrived to help.

Paramedics testified of trying to help their wounded colleagues even as Williams continued to prowl the area.

"He looked at us and lowered the gun at us," said firefighter-paramedic Mark Eskew, who was among several working on Lerma. "Initially I was so wrapped up in what was going on, but looking back I probably could have been shot. It was probably pretty stupid. I was yelling at the officers to shoot him the whole time."

Eskew can be seen briefly on the home video made by James Scott Merrill, who said he had to duck down in his car several times while filming to avoid becoming a target himself.

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