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Friends, Teammates Remember Slain Mt. Carmel High Grad

Briana Williams, 18, was killed early Monday morning.

At times the speakers were inaudible above the sobs from the crowd.

Just hours after 18-year-old Briana Williams was at the family's Rancho Peñasquitos home early Monday, the teen's extended family of classmates, softball teammates and fellow cheerleaders mourned their loss together at a local park.

"That beautiful smile. She'd do anything for you," said Don Portugal, who said he had coached the teen on travel softball teams since she was 8 years old.

As Portugal spoke, the anguish of Williams' teammates and friends nearly drowned out his words as the extended family held each other and cried, pleading with media cameramen not to film them. Many of the young women at the memorial at Canyonside Park in Rancho Peñasquitos had just seen Williams over the weekend at a game in Huntington Beach.

The teen was killed along with her mother, 31-year San Diego Police Department veteran Donna Williams, around 1:20 a.m. Monday. Police have arrested Briana's 24-year-old brother, Brian, on suspicion of two counts of murder. Both Williams women suffered multiple stab wounds and Briana may have fallen or been pushed from an upstairs balcony, police said. [See related story .]

Donna and Briana were best friends, Portugal said. Friends described the teen as outgoing, lively and hilarious.

"She just lit up the room," said Alanah Grisham, a Mount Carmel High School senior and cheerleader alongside Briana Williams. Several cheerleaders came in uniform in honor of the teen, who they said was a great tumbler.

Williams competed on the high school's softball team, as well as the San Diego Renegades travel softball team. She was a "little phenom pitcher" and loved to wear eyelashes, friends said, briefly lightening the mood at the memorial.

San Diego Police Officer Tony Gonzalez also shared a story about the teen, remembering a game in Ramona when she was stung by a bee in the backside while on the pitching mound. Gonzalez imitated the jerk of surprise and squeal Williams made, bringing the tearful teens to laughter.

Gonzalez said both Donna and Briana Williams embraced his daughter, who was in her freshman year on the softball team this past season, with open arms. Losing two members of the family at once, plus losing a fellow police officer, is devastating, he said.

"It's a tragedy. I feel for the family," Gonzalez said.

Portugal, the coach, became choked up as he spoke about Brian, the brother who is accused of killing the Williams women.

"My heart goes out to Brian because I know he's a good kid," Portugal said.

Pastor Doug Dorsey of Maranatha Chapel, which the family attended, led the group in prayer and said the church would be available to those who need comfort.

Grief counselors also will be available for students at Mount Carmel High School from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Briana Williams' name. Her name had been misspelled as "Breanna" due to incorrect information from the Police Department.

joi van vranken July 19, 2011 at 12:41 AM
31 years old huh???????????
joi van vranken July 19, 2011 at 12:42 AM
You get paid for this???? Do the figures
Patricia July 19, 2011 at 01:00 AM
I think they mean she has worked on the force for 31 years.
joi van vranken July 19, 2011 at 02:13 AM
good call... Horrible devastating tragedy
Shauntel Lowe July 19, 2011 at 02:48 AM
Yes, Patricia is right. It means she was on the force for 31 years. Sorry if that was confusing!
Lee Stalling Clancy July 19, 2011 at 06:29 AM
This does not say she was 31. It clearly states she was a "31-year veteran." The following sentence refers to Brian as a 24-year-old. Sheesh, read people...

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