The photographs with this post are, for me, like its subject — out of focus. As I write this, I am far from full clarity on what became of Kurtis Darius Williams, the subject of my column on June 15, 2018 and again today in the Sunday Sun. I am puzzled, curious, sad.
Sometimes you interview someone and you think you know them, that you have a good read on them. I can’t say that about Kurtis William. He seemed earnest, but he also seemed unsure and nervous about the future. He probably had unrealistic expectations, too.
Kurtis Williams spent his first 17 years in Baltimore, the next 17 in prison and the last three . . . well, I don’t know. I know that he came out of prison after serving time for the fatal shooting of another Baltimore teen. (He pleaded guilty as a juvenile to second-degree murder in 2001.) I know he tried to find a job, and that a civic-minded executive offered him one, and that Williams took the job, but that the job did not last. And I know that Kurtis Williams is the identity of the man who died in an extraordinary accident in downtown Gettysburg while most of us were still asleep in the early morning hours of March 1. The rest of the story, for now, is not known.
I interviewed Williams and wrote about him in June 2018, also recorded a podcast with him. Both are available online via The Baltimore Sun.
While working on the column last week, I found in my email files some follow-up questions and the brief answers Williams provided after my two 2018 interviews with him. At the time, he was just four months out of prison.
When you left the Department of Correction for the last time, what was the date?
February 8 2018.
You said you had a manila envelope with $50, a medical slip and your parole papers, right?
Yes; parole papers, $50.00, and medical paper, my ID too.
When you walked home, you stopped at a drugstore for some personal items. What did you buy?
Just the basics: soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.
Do you have any interest in working in graphic design or is your real focus finance?
I have a little interest in Graphic Design but Finance and the entire investment process is my passion.
Were you ever addicted to drugs? Did you ever go through NA or AA?
No I just used to smoke marijuana; I attended AA in prison.
Were you high when the shooting occurred?
Yes. The victim [was] too.
Did you have regular jobs besides selling drugs?
Yes, McDonalds and Popeyes.
Did you have a guy you looked up to when you were a kid?
Yes, the neighborhood drug dealers.
Did you have relatives who were drug dealers?
At one time, but a few stints in prison set ’em straight; Me too.