Friends, relatives recall victims’ struggles, triumphs
By Seattle Times staff
Those who knew the victims of Saturday’s shooting remembered them as music lovers, gentle souls and devoted friends.
Police have not released the names of any victims. But relatives have confirmed the deaths of three people:Christopher Williamson, Jason Travers and Jeremy Martin.
Christopher Williamson was trying to extricate himself from a music scene that gave him an outlet for his creative urges but also pulled him into a world of drugs. Friday night, the budding disc jockey went again, though, to a techno-music concert.
“This was going to be his last one,” his mother, Sandra Williamson, said Christopher had told friends.
“He had promised to stay away from that whole thing because of the drugs,” his mother said. “He just kind of wanted to turn his life around.”
Williamson was 21 and had had a couple of tough years. Deacon 808, as he was known when he was spinning records, got into drugs as he immersed himself in Seattle’s techno-music scene.
He was a deacon at the family church and each summer did missionary work with children of migrant workers either in Eastern Washington or in Mexico.
He dropped out of North Seattle Community College and lost his job at Fred Meyer.
“He got to the point where he just couldn’t focus on anything,” his mother said.
Last year, his mother paid for Williamson to go through a residential drug-rehabilitation program. They lived together in the five-bedroom home in Northeast Seattle where Christopher was born.
“I said I would never leave as long he needs the house. I guess he doesn’t need it anymore.”
Mother and son remained close, even through the troubled times of Christopher’s drug and alcohol problems. Every Halloween they’d don costumes and go trick-or-treating together.
Williamson seemed pulled between several worlds. His mother said he kept his techno-music friends separate from his family and church friends.
He was known in the rave community as a budding DJ who played cutting-edge techno music. At home, he was known as the baby-face boy whose favorite musician was Neil Diamond. It’s Diamond’s music that will be played at his funeral.
“He said anytime he heard Neil Diamond it was like the sun came out,” his mother said Sunday afternoon.
His bedroom is neat, a recent development in his efforts to straighten out his life.
The room is a testament to the man-child he was. The walls are papered with posters for raves, like Freaknight and Dr. Freecloud’s Reign of Terror, and the shelves still hold his Hot Wheels and toy trains.
His mother made his bed Saturday and looked through the closet for one of his trademark hooded sweatshirts to wear.
Sandra Williamson wasn’t sure how her younger son got interested in techno music. He’d spend hours on the computer working on the dance music that he would burn onto CDs and hand out at local parties.
“I think it was kind of his niche,” she said. “He was never into athletic things, so music was something he could excel in.”
She said she knows it is impossible to watch over children at all hours. But she said parents of teens should save news reports of last weekend’s massacre and make their children read them or watch TV reports each time they want to go to an all-night party.
Jason Robertson manages a University District club popular among techno-music fans, known as The Spot. He said Williamson was well-known there. In fact, he celebrated his 21st birthday party at the club.
Late Saturday, young people kneeled around a memorial poster for Williamson, penning goodbyes.
“Deacon, a true friend. You did so much for the scene your memory will never die,” read one.
“This doesn’t make any sense at all. Everyone loved you and we hope you know that, especially now. Take care Deacon.” It was signed “Mirage.”
Williamson detailed some of his struggles in an online journal.
In January, he wrote: “Im seriously transitioning once again. Chris ver 3.0 should be fully developed and all the bugs worked out soon. Im beta testing 2.2 right now. Expect to see final product on shelves by the end of the year.
Wish me luck.”
“A guiity (sic) conscious is a blessing and a curse. I feel bad for what I’ve done, but, at least I know I’m human,” he wrote in February.
He was named for St. Christopher, and his mother has always worn a St. Christopher medal on a chain around her neck. Sunday, as his mother showed photos of Christopher to visitors and looked around the pristine home that is now hers alone, she seemed unwilling to let it slip from between her fingers.