Slain security guard's family pleads for help

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The man married for 28 years to Brenda Williamson -- the security guard shot last Thursday morning outside a Southside McDonald's restaurant -- is pleading for help finding her killer.

"I wish I was there to protect her, but I wasn't," says Arnie Williamson. "I know somebody has seen something out there, and if they would please come forward, we would forever more be in your debt."

Last Thursday morning, police discovered Williamson's body in her security car just before 6 a.m. -- when her overnight shift would have ended. She was parked just outside the McDonald's on Bonneval Road -- off J. Turner Butler Boulevard between Intestate 95 and Philips Highway.

Witnesses say she had been there for hours, but they didn't call police because they thought she was asleep.

Williamson's father says police told him she had been shot through the heart.

"Losing a child is bad enough, but losing a child in this manner is unreal," Richard Thrift said.

Brenda Williamson
Brenda Williamson

The 50-year-old woman had worked as a security guard for 20 years, and her family said the area she patrolled -- an office and commercial park off JTB and I-95 -- was one of the safest she'd ever worked.

Despite that, they constantly worried. Her parents said they couldn't rest each night until she called to say she was OK.

"The nighttime is very hard, it's extremely hard for us because I can't get that call anymore," said Williamson's father, Richard Thrift.

Now the family waits for a call from police to say her killer has been found.

Arnie Williamson says the lack of closure is one of the hardest parts of this ordeal.

"Not knowing why they did it," he said Wednesday. "Senseless killing."

What's also unreal to this family is the idea that anyone would want to hurt her.

Her sisters say she loved being a security guard. She loved meeting people and never felt she needed a gun.

"She wasn't armed. She wasn't a threat to anybody. She's never been a threat to anybody," said Sibyl Bernard.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office hasn't said anything about the investigation, but Williamson's family is under the impression there is surveillance video from that parking lot.

Anyone with any information that could help police solve this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.

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