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SDPD Detective, Daughter Killed in Double Homicide in Rancho Peñasquitos

A neighbor reported seeing a teenager being pushed from an upstairs balcony.

A Rancho Peñasquitos man is in custody after allegedly shoving his teenage sister from an upstairs balcony and killing his mother—a San Diego police detective—early Monday morning, police and neighbors said.

Around 1:22 a.m., police responded to reports of a violent disturbance on the 9800 block of Paseo Montril in Rancho Peñasquitos. There they found the bodies of 52-year-old Donna Williams and her daughter Briana, 18, who recently graduated from Mount Carmel High School, said Jim Collins, acting assistant chief of Centralized Investigations.

The teen's 24-year-old brother, Brian, was sitting next to her body in front of the home and was taken into custody, Collins said, adding that police do not believe there are any other suspects. It appears the 18-year-old fell or was pushed from an upstairs balcony, and she also had knife wounds, Collins said. She was alive when paramedics arrived, but they were unable to save her, Collins said.

Donna Williams is a 31-year veteran of the San Diego Police Department and had been in the child abuse unit for the past 22 years. Briana Williams was a cheerleader at the high school and had received a full scholarship to a design school in the Bay Area.

Neighbor Max Keomanivong, 22, said he heard screams from his home up the street and came outside to see the brother carrying the teen out of an upstairs window at the home and dangling her over the balcony. The brother then pushed the woman over the balcony, he said. The teen was naked, alive and covered in blood when he ran over to see if she was OK, Keomanivong said.

"It was gruesome ... not a pretty sight," Keomanivong said. Collins also confirmed that the teen's body was unclothed, and said it appears that was how she normally slept. 

Tiana Castano, 18, who said she went to elementary school with Briana, also said she heard screaming around 1:20 a.m. It sounded like the scream of someone who was being chased, she said.

Collins said Donna Williams' body was found inside the home with knife wounds, though he would not specify where the wounds were located. She was in regular clothing and her TV was on so she may have been awake, he said.

Collins said Brian Williams was taken into custody without incident and police recovered a large kitchen knife they believe was used in the crime. No one else was at the home, though Donna Williams has a 28-year-old daughter who also lives in the county and her husband, who died in 2007, also had a son from a previous relationship.

The husband, Howard Williams, was a sergeant in the homicide unit and had been with the department from 1972 to 2007, when he died of natural causes, Collins said, adding he had been in the same academy class as the sergeant.

Collins said Donna Williams was the "cornerstone" of the child abuse unit and was known as the "Queen Mother." She worked on the case of Danielle van Dam, the 7-year-old who was kidnapped and murdered nearly a decade ago. The loss of Williams is "devastating" for the department, Collins said.

The investigation is ongoing and Brian Williams has been booked into county jail on two counts of murder, Collins said.

Collins said police were called to the home on June 30 for a disturbance, but it was handled on-scene. He offered no further details.

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.

Vinnie Lopez July 21, 2011 at 09:08 PM
I believe the San Diego Sheriff handles Coronado's major crimes. Det. Williams worked for SDPD

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