Family, police seek help finding suspect who killed aspiring firefighter in Lancaster

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Homicide investigators are asking for the public's help to solve a murder in Lancaster that happened on Aug. 13. (KABC)

Homicide investigators are asking for the public's help to solve a murder in Lancaster that happened on Aug. 13.

A gunman shot and killed 22-year-old William Clay Settle outside of an apartment community that day. Now, a makeshift memorial marks the spot where he was gunned down.

His mother, Sallie Rouse, is pleading for anyone who might be helping the killer evade arrest to have a change of heart.

"I need my son back. That's what I need," she said. "If you are harboring those killers or the killer of my son, his shed blood is on your hands."

Settle was an aspiring firefighter completing a seven-month stint with the California Conservation Corps (CCC). It's a state run organization for young people to gain vital skills in conservation and firefighting, among other things. Members of the CCC were heartbroken to hear about Settle's death.

Activist Stan Muhammad said the Nation of Islam and the organization he co-founded, the Community Action League, are talking to people, conducting their own investigation to help detectives find the killer.

"Whoever woke up that morning with a gun on him that took William's life, from what the report is telling us, is another black man," Muhammad said.

Muhammad said as thousands nationwide aggressively protest police shootings of African Americans, they must show the same level of concern at the alarming number of black-on-black murders across the country.

"This hypocrisy. When you deal with something that's been ongoing for 30-plus years, that people have became desensitized to black-on-black violence," he said.

Detectives are investigating the murder, but they have no suspects. There is no clear-cut motive, and Settle's mother said it was just another senseless act of violence on an innocent young man who simply wanted to one day fight fires for a living.

"I'm William Clay Settle's proud mother. I will always honor God for allowing me to be his mother," Rouse said.

Related Topics:
murdersearchfirefightersman shotman killedLancasterLos Angeles County
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