By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There was an emotional show of support in Queens on Saturday for the family of a young man who was fatally shot early New Year’s Day.

The mother of New York City’s first homicide victim for 2021 raised her hands in the air, crying out for help during a balloon release honoring her son, Robert Williams.

READ MORE: Gabby Petito Search: Video Shows Couple Questioned About Physical Altercation In Utah, Fiancé Told Police Road Trip Created 'Emotional Strain'

His mom says her son, who everyone called Dre, was killed just one day before his 21st birthday.

He and two other men were shot in front of a Kew Gardens hotel about an hour after ringing in the new year.

LINK: Tracking Shootings In New York City

Loved ones say Robert Williams was staying at the hotel with his friends to celebrate his upcoming birthday. A trip to get food resulted in an argument with the suspects in the lobby.

“I pray that my son’s soul is at peace,” said Robin Williams, Robert’s mom. “I pray for those cowards that killed my son, shot his friend and others because their families are going to suffer also.”

Robert Williams was killed on Jan. 1, 2021, just one day before his 21st birthday. (Photo provided)

Family members say Robert was a respectable and kind-hearted man who spent time as kid at Brookville Park football field.

They told CBS2’s Cory James that Williams not only played football for the Rosedale Jets Football Association, but he also was a championship quarterback and captain of his team.

“Anything he did, God knows he did it to the fullest, the max, past the limit,” one person said.

Community activist Tony Herbert says both of his parents were also heavily involved with the program, his mom volunteering as a team mom and his dad recording games with a video camera.

READ MORE: Feast Of San Gennaro Returns In Little Italy As Vendors Take COVID Precautions

Police are searching for the suspects behind the first deadly shooting of the New Year that took place at a hotel in Queens. (Credit: NYPD)

It’s unclear what caused the altercation leading to the triple shooting, but authorities are looking for four suspects who they believe are connected to the crime that took a young life.

Herbert says there is no room for gun violence in the city.

“So I say to those cowards right now, do us a favor, turn yourself in. Turn yourself in and save us the expense of having to chase you down,” he said.

As for the other two victims of the shooting, CBS2 has been told the 40-year-old man who was shot at least three times in multiple parts of his body is still in critical condition. The 20-year-old man who was shot in the leg is expected to be OK.

Anyone who has information regarding this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-8477 or for Spanish, 1-888-577-4782. Tips can also be sent to the NYPDTips Twitter account or submitted online at

The new year started off with more shootings after a violent 2020.

MORE — NYPD: 8 People Shot In 6 Different Shootings Not Even 2 Hours Into 2021

The NYPD says last year, the total number of shootings reached 1,531, the same number for the previous two years combined.

On New Year’s Day, there were seven shootings with 10 victims.

MORE NEWS: Search For Suspects After Man Shot, Another Robbed While Dining Outside Philippe Restaurant On Upper East Side


Cory James