MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The godmother police credited with preventing loss of life or injury in a shooting incident in Martinsburg now says she and her family are  being evicted.

Katrina Addie said when she realized a man who had confronted her godson in the parking lot of her apartment complex was pulling a gun on him, she had to act.

Addie told The Panhandle News Network Wednesday her godson Tion left her apartment Sunday evening to take the trash out.  A group of kids came out with him.

Tion said the suspected shooter, later identified as 24-year-old Elijah Bilal Williamson, and a 15-year-old boy confronted him about a situation involving two women who might get into an altercation.

Tion, who was visiting from Georgia before heading to college for the fall, said he didn’t know know what they were talking about and when they weren’t satisfied with his answer, one of them swung at him and the other stepped up like he was ready to fight.

“I squared up with them both and once they realized I wasn’t going to back down, they backed up and started clutching on their hip,” he said Wednesday.

That’s when Tion knew guns were about to come out. “Knowing me, I’ll fight you but I ain’t fighting no bullet,”  Tion said. “I took off, trying to warn everybody, the kids and stuff. I didn’t know what to think. For real, that was like the first time someone was coming for me.”

Addie said she had seen the group of men and boys in the parking lot of Oak Tree Village before, shooting videos and brandishing guns. She says she had complained to management to get someone to monitor the property and keep her family and the number of families with children safe, but says her complaints went unanswered.

Addie, who is a correctional officer, says that day when she looked out the window and saw what was happening, she knew her godson and the other children who had come outside with him were in danger. She grabbed her firearm and went to the door.

“By the time I made it to the bottom of the stairs, I could see all the kids running.  By the time I stepped off the third step, I said, ‘What’s going on?’ He immediately lifted the gun and started shooting,” Addie said.  “I told all the kids to get down and we hit the deck.”

Addie knew her neighbor was getting in her car to go out to the store.  She heard a sound that made her think the shooter’s clip was empty.

“I heard something drop, so I got up immediately and returned fire,” she said.

Her intention was to get the shooter to leave. “As he seen me get to my neighbor’s car to try to get her out, he immediately repeated shooting again.”  She and the others ran back inside the building until they knew the shooter was gone.  That’s when they were able to get the neighbor, who was not injured, out of her car, which had been hit.

“When I got up to return fire, the young man never budged.  He stood there like he had the intent to really hurt someone,” she said.  For her part, she said she aimed to warn him so he would leave.  She was not shooting to kill the man.  “All I was trying to do was protect.”

Eviction notice

Addie said this week, she had a yellow envelope waiting for her when she got home.  It was an eviction notice.  When she went to her rental office to talk about it, she was told that the folks there agreed that she didn’t break any laws.  She said surveillance video from the incident was reviewed by law enforcement and she fully cooperated with investigators, staying behind to answer questions.

In an interview earlier this week, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department Chief Administrative Officer Eric Burnett told the Panhandle News Network Addie’s actions likely prevented injury, loss of life or further damage.

Addie said property managers had reviewed the footage and the people she talked to in the rental office agreed she had acted in self-defense protecting people in the complex.  “They told me, ‘You didn’t break no laws,'” she says she was told, but they said they still had to give her a thirty day notice to leave. “Only because I had to pull out a firearm I had to move in thirty days.”

The notice, dated June 30th, indicates Addie is behind on utilities.  It also cites “illegal action on the property” specifically stating “Family member fighting, brandishing and shooting a weapon; endangering self and the lives of others in the community.”

Addie says she is trained to operate a firearm and was not operating it in a lethal manner but only in a way to protect her godson, the other children, and the neighbors in the complex.

She said she has been alerting management for the apartment complex for seven months about the group of males who have been showing up in the parking lot, making videos and displaying weapons.  “I have been complaining for seven months.  I went to the Sheriff’s Department.  The Sheriff’s Department came to the complex to ask them to leave.”

“All the landlords would say is, ‘We don’t know their names,'” she said. “But nothing extra was done to stay behind and try to locate these individuals.”

Now, she said her family, including seven children, will have to find another place to live in the next month.

Addie said her neighbors have been rallying behind her, some saying the complex management should keep her there rent free for protecting the residents. “Me and my wife is here with limited friends, no family,” she says, pointing out they don’t have a safety net. “We just have coworkers, friends that we’ve met since we’ve been here.  We’ve got seven kids.  They gave me thirty days.”

Still, she’s circumspect. “Honestly, I believe things happen for a reason, and if you do things for the right reason, the right doors will open.”

The Panhandle News Network has reached out to TM Associates Management, Inc. for comment.

The suspect, Elijah Bilal Williamson, 24 of Martinsburg has been charged with 18 counts of Attempted Malicious Wounding following the shooting incident around 7:00 Sunday evening at the Oak Tree Villages apartment complex off US RT 11N in Berkeley County.

Investigators processing the scene found eighteen 9mm shell casings along with several bullet fragments.

Luke Wiggs contributed to this story. 




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