‘Love has brought us here:’ Hilton Head celebrates life of teen shot near Coligny in 2015

Walk for Dom 2019 raises money for student musicians

Walk for Dom is an annual event that was created in memory of 17-year-old Dominique Williams, who was shot on Coligny Beach on July 19, 2015.
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Walk for Dom is an annual event that was created in memory of 17-year-old Dominique Williams, who was shot on Coligny Beach on July 19, 2015.

Dominique Williams was a vibrant teenager with a big, bright smile who loved music and drums.

He played sports and wore bow ties whenever he got the chance to dress up.

He also loved giving back to the community, his mother Rudy Milton told a crowd of people Saturday morning at the annual Walk for Dom. The event was founded in 2016 with the goal of keeping Williams’ legacy alive and raising money for a scholarship in his memory.

“It’s a blessing to have been Dominique’s mom,” Milton said. “A true, true blessing.”

Williams died on July 19, 2015, when he was 17 years old. He was hanging out with friends at Coligny Beach on Hilton Head when John Duncan, then 15, walked up to Williams and fatally shot him with hundreds of people around.

Just more than a week ago, Duncan, now 19, was convicted of murdering Williams. He is awaiting sentencing.

A plaque marks the area where Dominique Williams, 17, was fatally shot at Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island in July 2015. Lana Ferguson

On Saturday, about 100 of Williams’ friends, family, and local community members shared smiles, laughs, and memories of Williams before walking a mile along Coligny Beach together.

Before the walk, Milton introduced the event’s key speaker, Pastor Louis Johnson of Central Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a historic Gullah church on Hilton Head that Milton has been a member of for almost 20 years.

“It is love that brought us here,” Johnson, who knew Williams when he was a small child and watched him grow up into his teenage years, said.

“Love has brought us here to celebrate life, praise God, to thank God for a life given to us for a season,” he said. “A great life that is well lived is not measured in the number of days that he spent with us on this earth but measured in the everlasting impact that Dominique made during his season.”

The community has continued to feel that impact.

Since Williams’ death and the founding of Walk for Dom, four local students have been awarded the Dominique’s Musician Corner Scholarship. Milton said when choosing who to give the scholarship to she looks for students who have the same passion for their craft that Williams did with music.

This year, a total of $2,100 was given in scholarships to two students since Williams would have turned 21 in July.

So far, more than $20,000 has been raised to fund the scholarship.

“It’s important to me to be able to continue this scholarship,” Milton said. “This a small community and there is no reason we cannot come together and help one another out. These kids need us.”

Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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