Suspect in fatal shooting of Temple student Sam Collington turns himself in

Latif Williams, 17, had charges dropped after several previous arrests

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The 17-year-old accused of shooting and killing Temple University student Sam Collington has turned himself in to police and now faces murder charges.

The suspect, Latif Williams, has a lengthy criminal record but never faced prosecution.

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It was Sunday afternoon around 1 p.m. when Collington was parking his car on Park Avenue, just a few blocks from Temple’s campus.

Police said that’s when he was approached by Williams, whom they said was there to rob and carjack him.

Authorities added surveillance video shows a struggle between the two, where Collington was shot several times and Williams took off.

The 21-year-old victim later died at the hospital.

Williams has been arrested several times before, most recently in August for another armed carjacking.

But according to court documents, after two listings, prosecutors dropped the charges.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the District Attorney says the case was withdrawn because "a key witness" didn’t show up for court, and says they "continue to pursue accountability for that crime."

Williams had been arrested before, in July of 2019 for drugs, in May of 2020 for burglary, criminal trespassing, and criminal mischief, and again in November of 2020 on another drug charge. All the cases were withdrawn by prosecutors.

The Philadelphia district attorney’s spokesperson denied the cases were withdrawn, though it has been verified through multiple sources. She declined to comment further because Williams is a juvenile.

Williams’ attorney, Pat Link, said the teen turned himself in as soon as he became aware there was a warrant for his arrest. Link said they are continuing to investigate and look forward to the day when all the facts can be presented to the court.

The following is a full statement from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office:

The District Attorney’s Office thanks the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit for so quickly identifying a suspect in the tragic murder of Samuel Collington.

All students and young people deserve safe environments, whether in the classroom or while traveling to and from school. We urge anyone with information that could aid PPD in bringing Latif Williams into custody to come forward or provide an anonymous tip as soon as possible.

Latif Williams was arrested and charged by our office in a Direct File Juvenile case earlier this year for a gunpoint carjacking that did not result in bodily injury to the victim, but by its nature was violent. Any invasion of people’s property with firearms involved is a serious crime.

However, a key witness for the Commonwealth did not appear in court, forcing our office to withdraw the case at that time. That incident, which took place in August, remains under active investigation, and our office continues to pursue accountability for that crime.

The District Attorney’s Office continues to work with our partners in law enforcement and city government to support witness cooperation in criminal investigations so that people who commit violent crimes are held accountable and removed from the community.

Members of the public who cooperate in police investigations and criminal prosecutions deserve to know that they will be safe and are valued by our communities.

Anyone with information on Latif Williams is asked to please contact PPD Homicide Detectives at 215-685-3334, 215-686-TIPS (8477), or call 911.

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