San Diego

Father, 36, Killed in Chula Vista Road Rage Stabbing Had Dropped Kids Off at School: Brother

Horace Williams, 36, was stabbed during a road rage incident involving Rickey Smith, 60, Tuesday on Willow Street and Sweetwater Road

A man killed Tuesday during a suspected road rage confrontation in Chula Vista was a father of five daughters and was returning home from dropping off his little ones at school when he was stabbed to death, his brother confirmed.

On Wednesday, the Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) identified Horace Williams, 36, of National City, as the victim in the disturbing incident.

NBC 7 reached out to Williams' family. His brother confirmed Williams was a beloved father, with daughters ranging in age from 1 to 9. His littlest girls are twins.

The victim's brother said Williams had been returning home when the altercation on the road with suspect Rickey Smith, 60, escalated to deadly violence.

The family is distraught and, at this point, wants privacy. They have created an online fundraiser page to help cover funeral costs. On that GoFundMe page, Williams is described as a "funny, laid-back and amazing person."

On Tuesday, Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Capt. Phil Collum said officers were called to Willow Street and Sweetwater Road just after 9 a.m. to investigate a stabbing that happened at the intersection near the bridge.

Collum said two men -- now identified as Williams and Smith -- were involved in a "rolling altercation" that began a few blocks away from the intersection -- maybe even up to one mile away.

Smith was in a white Ford Ranger, Williams was in a silver minivan.

Witnesses reported seeing the men yelling at each other while driving along the bridge. Police said Smith pulled up alongside the van and threw a soda at Williams.

Smith then pulled in front of the van and slammed on his brakes, causing Williams to rear-end him, according to police.

CVPD called the collision minor but what happened next was anything but that.

Following the fender-bender, Smith got out of his truck, approached Williams and, according to witnesses, punched him through a window. Then, Smith stabbed Williams with a retractable blade knife. That knife was found in Smith's belt when officers arrived, according to CVPD.

When police got to the area, Williams was lying on the ground. Remnants of blood could be seen on the roadway.

Williams was rushed to a local hospital but ended up dying from his wounds a short time later, Collum said. The stabbing took place less than two miles away from Williams' home, his family said.

Smith waited at the scene and cooperated with police as they began questioning him. Ultimately, he was arrested on one count of first-degree murder.

It is unknown how many times Williams was stabbed. Smith was not injured in the altercation, Collum said.

Collum said the incident appears to be road rage after initially hesitating to confirm that was the case.

The police captain had at first referred to the incident as a "rolling altercation" because witnesses told police they saw the vehicles traveling near one another as the drivers were engaged in a dispute.

The police captain called this incident a "tragedy" and said that, while cases of road rage do occur, the severity of this case takes it to a new level. 

Collum said the area around the intersection is highly-trafficked and he believes there could be several witnesses who saw a portion of the events leading up to the stabbing. Any of those details could help police piece together what happened. Collum said witnesses can call the CVPD's tip line at (619) 422-TIPS.

Late Tuesday, NBC 7 learned that Smith is involved at St. Stephen's Church of God in San Diego, where he plays the organ and his wife is a youth minister.

Friend and neighbor Andy Tait can't imagine Smith as a murder suspect.

"I don't know the circumstances," Tait said. "A guy's got a right to defend himself. I don't know what happened."

A church elder and administrator turned down interviews with NBC 7 and deferred questions to Bishop George McKinney.

On Wednesday, McKinney told NBC 7 the incident is completely out of character for Smith and he has no idea what could have set him off.

Smith is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Williams' brother told NBC 7 the father of five was engaged and had planned to wed on his birthday, next March. Williams was also the middle sibling of five brothers.

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