Updated:
Original:

Young hero: 11-year-old honored for testifying against her dad's attacker

Author:

An 11-year-old Minneapolis girl is being honored as a hero for helping to put an attempted murderer behind bars.

Thalia Williams received the Hennepin County Outstanding Citizen award in a ceremony Friday; she's the youngest person ever to receive the honor, WCCO reports.

It was last year, when Thalia was just 10, when she witnessed her father being attacked by a former business associate in their home. Justin Williams was stabbed and beaten, and was seriously injured.

The suspect, Vincent Walker, went on trial in April, and Thalia's testimony helped lead to his conviction on attempted murder charges, according to FOX 9. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“It was very scary because [I knew] the guy who tried to murder him,” Williams said, according to WCCO. “He had stayed in our house.”

But that isn't the end of Thalia Williams' heroism.

Shortly after Walker's trial ended, the girl was walking her dog when she spotted a suspicious-looking pop bottle lying in the street near her house. The bottle had balls of aluminum foil on it, she said.

So Thalia told her mother about it and they called police, who later confirmed that it was, indeed, a bomb.

Authorities safely detonated the device and nobody was hurt. Thalia's actions prevented what could have been a dangerous explosion, WCCO notes.

As she accepted the award, her father Justin Williams became emotional, according to the TV station.

“We knew years ago that she was going to do great things,” he said.

Thalia, who is in sixth grade, said Friday she hopes to become a prosecutor someday.

This embed is invalid

Community Leadership Awards were also presented to five other people in the Friday ceremony, including Crystal Police Chief Stephanie Revering and her department.

The award recognizes their "superb work in building such a strong case against Pierre Collins that he pleaded guilty to murdering his son Barway and is now spending 40 years in prison."

Next Up

uprooted tree in Burnsville

NWS: Tornadoes confirmed to have struck Apple Valley, Burnsville

A crazy night of storms may have included even more tornadoes.

police lights

Man charged with manslaughter after fistfight ends in death

The incident happened at a veterans housing complex in Chisholm.

Concert

Ellison reaches $1.9M settlement with StubHub over COVID cancellations

The ticket reselling giant will pay $1.87 million in refunds for Minnesota events.

Everson Griffen

Everson Griffen injured in car accident after swerving to miss a deer

Griffen was involved in the crash Thursday on his way to work.

Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 8.30.16 AM

DPS sparks furore with 'not reaching' pouches designed to stop police shootings

The pouches were developed in collaboration with Valerie Castile, whose son Philando was fatally shot by police while reaching for his permit-to-carry.

police lights

Maintenance worker finds 2 bodies in West St. Paul garage

It's unclear how long the bodies were in the garage before being discovered.

Screen Shot 2021-09-17 at 10.42.39 AM

Tree branch falls on tent in Mankato, killing 4-year-old girl

The tree branch fell at approximately 2:30 a.m.

Related

Post-9/11 veterans honored in Twin Cities Heroes parade

About 30 groups marched down Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis Saturday in the Twin Cities Heroes parade, a first for Minnesota and one of about a dozen special "welcome home" parades across the nation to specifically honoring post-9/11 veterans. The event was pushed back from April so members of Minnesota's Red Bull Division could join the event after returning home in May.

Vigil honors 3-year-old Terrell Mayes

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday in honor of three-year-old Terrell Mayes. A stray bullet struck the toddler when he was inside his family's home in North Minneapolis last Monday. KARE 11 reports Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other elected officials attended the vigil, that included music and candles. City officials also promised to continue their search for the person responsible. A $1,000 reward is still being offered for information that leads to an arrest.