'I’m crying for peace:' Family of man found murdered in Seattle's Gas Works Park seeks justice

A South Sound family is desperate for answers after the oldest of 11 siblings was found shot to death inside Seattle’s Gas Works Park last month. Seattle Police have yet to make an arrest in the case. 

Willie James Smith Jr. would have turned 46-years-old on Oct. 1. His younger sister, Lashell Smith, believes he was lured into Gas Works Park. Instead, someone walking through the park found Willie’s body riddled by gunshot wounds. 

Lashell spoke about happier times with her brother when she shared photos with FOX 13 News reporter Steve Kiggins, smiling looking back at the memories. She said her brother had only been living in the South Sound for a few months. 

Seattle Police said they did not find a lot of evidence inside Gas Works Park back on Aug. 16. Callers to 911 reported gunfire around 4:30 that morning. Another caller said they found someone who had been shot to death. 

"All I have is a voicemail from last year of him telling me happy birthday," she said. "I listen to that message every day."

Lashell says Willie had been couch surfing on siblings' couches for about three months, and her brother planned to meet someone at Gas Works Park on Aug. 16 who promised steady work and space in a sober house. 

Seattle Police told FOX 13 News that detectives have yet to develop a motive or a description of their murder suspect.

Lashell says Willie loved his stepdaughter, bowling and enjoyed feeding people. She hoped he would have brought his soul food catering business to Seattle from Georgia. 

Before the shooting, there was a future for the family. A future without the heartbreak of a lost loved one while knowing Willie’s murderer remains on the loose.

"I’m crying for peace. I’m crying for help and I’m crying for justice," she said. 

Seattle Police are asking for anyone who remembers hearing gunfire on the morning of Aug. 16 at Gas Works Park to reach out to detectives through the department's tip line at 206-233-5000.

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