A Southern California road rage encounter on Tuesday left a father of five dead and put a FedEx worker — who’s also a church organist — behind bars.
Police said 36-year-old Horace Williams was stabbed and killed during the incident around 9 a.m. in Chula Vista, KGTV reports. Williams had just finished taking “two of his beautiful daughters to school” in his minivan when a pickup driver caused them to crash, and then got out of his vehicle with a knife and stabbed Williams to death, his family wrote on a GoFundMe page.
“Our hearts are empty, a piece is gone,” Williams’ family said on the fundraising platform. “He has 5 beautiful daughters, two of which are just over a year old.”
The stabbing happened less than two miles from Williams’ home, the family said.
Rickey Smith, a 60-year-old San Diego FedEx worker, was arrested on suspicion of murder in the incident, and remains in custody without bail, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Investigators said the two drivers had been angry with each other for at least a mile, FOX 5 reports. Police said the tension grew violent after Smith tossed a soda at Williams’ minivan, then veered in front of the minivan and abruptly stopped — causing Williams to crash into Smith’s pickup, NBC San Diego reports.
That’s when Smith got out of the pickup, a witness said.
“You could tell that he [the pickup driver] was really mad. And then the guy in the van — the victim — rolled down the window and the guy just started punching him while he was still seated in the van,” witness Tracy Ryan said, according to FOX 5. “He reached into his pocket, he grabbed a knife and he just started stabbing him right there, and the guy was still seated.”
Injured, Williams got out of the minivan and collapsed, Ryan said.
“He fell like four times, banging his head each time, and I saw the blood everywhere,” Ryan told FOX.
Paramedics attempted CPR on Williams, the Union-Tribune reports, and then he was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego and pronounced dead.
Smith surrendered to police at the intersection where the stabbing occurred. Police said the retractable knife used in the stabbing was discovered in Smith’s belt, NBC San Diego reports.
But it’s still unclear what triggered the road rage, police said.
“We don’t know where it started, much less why,” Chula Vista police Capt. Phil Collum said, according to the Union-Tribune. “They were sort of going at it some ways as they were driving down the road and stopped at different places along the way.”
Smith is an organist and his wife is a youth minister at St. Stephen’s Church of God in San Diego, NBC reports. Neighbors of Smith found the murder charge unimaginable.
“I don’t know the circumstances,” said neighbor Andy Tait, who described Smith as “just a mellow guy,” according to NBC. “A guy’s got a right to defend himself. I don’t know what happened.”
Witnesses saw Smith in a FedEx uniform Tuesday during the road rage encounter, KGTV reports
“This report is deeply disturbing. We extend our sympathies to those affected by this tragedy,” a FedEx spokesperson said, according to KGTV.