Dad of tourist killed in New York City rips Hochul as ‘out of touch to suffering of families like mine’

The father of a 20-year-old Indiana tourist shot and killed in New York City ripped New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul as “tone-deaf to the suffering of families like mine,” according to a report.

Ethan Williams, a sophomore who was studying film media at Indiana University, was reportedly on a “dream trip” to New York City when he was shot in the chest while sitting on the stoop of an Airbnb with friends in Bushwick, Brooklyn, at about 2:30 a.m. on October 24, 2020.

An arrest wasn’t made until last week when 26-year-old William Freeman was taken into custody.

Freeman allegedly told investigators that he mistook one of Williams’ friends for a rival gang member who had killed his cousin when he opened fire toward the group more than two years ago.

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Ethan Williams, 20, pictured with his father, Jason Williams, on graduation day.
(Williams’ family/ Go Fund Me)

To the objection of prosecutors, Freeman, who has nine prior arrests, was granted $350,000 bail by Brooklyn Criminal Court judge Leigh Cheng, according to the New York Post.

Williams’ father, Jason Williams, blasted the decision, as well as Hochul, during an interview with the outlet.

The elder Williams referred to an exchange between Hochul and Republican candidate for governor, Rep. Lee Zeldin, during their first and only debate in October. Halfway through the debate, Zeldin lamented that Hochul, “still hasn’t talked about locking up anyone who commits any crimes.”

Hochul responded, “anyone who commits a crime under our laws, especially with the change they made to bail, has consequences. I don’t know why that’s so important to you.

“To hear one candidate say to another, ‘I’m not sure why that’s so important to you’ in regards to crime surges in New York is tone-deaf to the suffering of families like mine,” Jason Williams told The Post. “Tone-deaf toward women, such as the jogger raped in Manhattan just last week. And tone-deaf towards surges of violence against Asian Americans.”

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Ethan Williams, 20, was reportedly sophomore in the film media program at Indiana University and was a member of the Mayor’s Youth Council of Indianapolis.
(Williams’ family/ Fox & Friends)

Jason Williams said, “what happens in New York ripples throughout the nation,” warning that “the weight of silence of your elected leaders has not gone unnoticed.”

Freeman already has a warrant out for his arrest in connection to a January petit larceny case when he was pulled over by NYPD officers on Thursday for not having a front license plate and not wearing a seatbelt, prosecutors said.

According to the Post, his record is mostly sealed, but he was arrested for gun possession on Sept. 8, 2018, and in a domestic violence assault case on April 27, 2019.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul talks to reporters after visiting the Hamilton Housing Development on West 73rd Street and Broadway in the Upper West side of Manhattan, New York.
(Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

“My son is dead because a criminal with nine previous arrests was free, walking the streets of New York City,” Jason Williams told The Post on Monday. “I will also note that even though my son was a high-profile victim and one of the only tourists to be gunned down in many years, with national news coverage, not once did I receive condolences from Mayor de Blasio, Mayor Adams or Gov. Cuomo.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, on a visit to Pier 45 on the Hudson River in Manhattan, New York.
(Tim Balk/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Though Freeman still remained held on the $300,000 bail at Rikers Island on Monday, prosecutors and Jason Williams lamented that any bail had been set by the judge in the first place.

“I would say that regardless of your politics, Republican or Democrat, this is a serious problem for New Yorkers and a problem you must deal with before, God forbid, your phone rings,” Jason Williams said. “Much of the conversation around bail reform has become nothing more than a boxing match over which elections are being decided.”

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“I’m also aware, sadly, that this has become a political issue. For my part, however, I do not see this as a political issue but rather a human one,” he added. “It doesn’t matter what side of the line you are on when you answer the phone to be told that your child has been ‘shot. And Mr. Williams — it’s really bad.'”