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Pedestrian killed at Mondawmin Mall was a coach for a youth football team, is recalled for his commitment to children

Garrick Williams Jr., 38, was killed after being hit by a car outside Mondawmin Mall late Monday afternoon. A beloved football coach, the Baltimore native is remembered for his commitment to the community.
Garrick Williams Jr., 38, was killed after being hit by a car outside Mondawmin Mall late Monday afternoon. A beloved football coach, the Baltimore native is remembered for his commitment to the community. (Courtesy of Sirena Alford)

Garrick Williams Jr. a beloved Baltimore youth football coach, has been identified as the pedestrian killed after he was struck by a vehicle outside Mondawmin Mall late Monday afternoon.

Williams was a coach for the FCA Baltimore Park Heights Secret Society Saints, a youth football program his father, Garrick William Sr., started more than 20 years ago, according to Sirena Alford, director of the Baltimore chapter of the nonprofit Fellowship for Christian Athletes, which sponsors the FCA Park Heights Saints.

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Affectionately known as “Coach Dip” to fellow coaches and youth athletes, the 38-year-old played as a child on the football team his father established before coming on as a coach, Alford said.

For the younger Williams, “it wasn’t just about the football,” Alford said. “It was about the mentorship.”

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Garrick Williams Jr., 38, was killed after being hit by a car outside Mondawmin Mall late Monday afternoon. A beloved football coach, the Baltimore native is remembered for his commitment to the community.
Garrick Williams Jr., 38, was killed after being hit by a car outside Mondawmin Mall late Monday afternoon. A beloved football coach, the Baltimore native is remembered for his commitment to the community. (Courtesy of Sirena Alford)

Williams was one of 45 coaches mentoring around 250 youth football players and cheerleaders 5 to 15 years old, Alford said.

In a 2017 video produced by the Maryland Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Williams said team players may think they’re just playing a game — “but at the end of the day, we try to save their life.”

“We try to give them the word of God, we try to give them something that they’re gonna take with them for the rest of their life,” he said.

The Baltimore native was one of two men hit by a vehicle in front of the Shoppers Food Market at the West Baltimore mall at about 3:25 p.m. Monday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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The other victim was taken to a hospital for treatment. The driver, who stopped at the scene, also was transported to a hospital.

Police could not be reached to provide updates on the crash investigation or the status of either the pedestrian or driver.

Rei Perri, a volunteer with the Park Heights Saints, said Williams was “the spitting image of his dad.”

“He had the same commitment to the neighborhood and the kids,” Perri said.

The elder Williams began the Park Heights program, raising $250,000 to redevelop a three-story, 2,000-square-foot abandoned church into the Park Heights Community Center in 2019 near Lucille Park, where the youth athletes practice.

He was driven to launch the program after his son began playing football in the late 1990s, according to Baltimore Magazine.

Perri said the Williamses’ mission was to connect with children too well-acquainted with violence and loss in the Park Heights neighborhood where the rate for youths killed by homicide is 49 out of every 100,000 residents younger than 25, according to a 2017 report from the Baltimore City Health Department.

Garrick Williams Jr.’s life was devoted to “helping these kids avoid the pitfalls of the street,” Perri said.

“God doesn’t put more on you than you can bear,” he added about Williams’ father. “But I think he’s really reached a limit right now with this.”

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