Keith Williams was a biker to the bone.
Family and friends are mourning the death of the man described as being an enthusiast for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, tattoos, family, fishing, camping, four-wheeling, faith in God and helping others.
“He was a real testament to what the biker community is about,” said his friend, Bob Seymour. “He was a Harley guy, no doubt.”
Williams, 33, of Longmont, was identified Monday as the man who was fatally shot in the north Walmart parking lot shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday.
Police believe the shooter is Joseph Keith Anderson, 34, who has ties to the Loveland and Littleton areas. Police ended the fourth day in the manhunt without finding him, Sgt. Matt Cage said.
“We’re hoping he realizes that he can come and turn himself in or family and friends can talk to him to reason with him to turn himself in,” Cage said. “We’re going to keep looking for him until we find him.”
The murder has left family and friends feeling confused and heartbroken, expressed in Facebook posts flooding his page since Sunday.
“I know things that were going on in Keith’s life, but I also know that things don’t add up,” said his friend, Mary Nader, adding that she wants Anderson caught soon.
On a trip to Sturgis, N.D., in 2015 for an annual motorcycle rally, the trip took more than nine hours instead of six hours because Williams’ Harley-Davidson Sportster had a tiny tank — something that his group teased him about.
“We actually put gas in the back of a chase truck,” Nader said. “Every 70 miles we would have to stop, pull over on the side of the road and Keith would have to fill up.”
Her boyfriend, Casey Mitchell, said he remembered it being every 60 miles, “give or take.”
“On the way back, his bike blew up,” Mitchell said. “It didn’t blow up, but when those older bikes get hot, they start squirting oil everywhere … didn’t have the right gasket on there.”
Mitchell, now in Westminster, said he met Williams when he moved back to Longmont from Phoenix about six years ago and they had hung out ever since as gym buddies and as bikers.
“I’m pretty sure I met him at a bar,” he said. “I’d seen him there a few times before and he seemed like a cool dude, so we started talking. We just kind of clicked.”
Nader, of Loveland, said she met Williams in the early part of 2013 through Mitchell and they became immediate friends, riding motorcycles together across Northern Colorado. She said Williams has always been supportive through rough patches in her life.
“Ride, ride, ride, ride,” was how they spent time together, Nader said.
Their classic ride was called “crack the whip,” she said, which started in Berthoud, then went to Carter Lake in Loveland, Canyon Grill at Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins and back to Berthoud.
She said Williams called her Twisted Sister and she called him Pickle D, after a lighter she stole from him that had a pickle on it. She said his last text to her was, “Love you, Twisted Sister,” after she missed his visit to her house on the Wednesday before he died.
“We were planning to ride this last weekend and that didn’t happen,” she said. “I just wish that instead of talking on the phone and texting, I could’ve seen him one last time.”
Nader and Mitchell also said Williams was a hard worker in his jobs in construction, was funny, asked a lot of questions about faith, fought for what he believed in and had a heart for everyone.
“We’d have to wait hours because Keith just connected with these people,” Nader said about when he’d meet new people. “He could make friends with anyone, everywhere. He wouldn’t only do things for his friends; he would do things for everyone.”
Friend to the needy
On Nader’s birthday on Dec. 2, 2015, Williams unexpectedly brought her a decorative motorcycle tied with a bow as her birthday gift and to cheer her up in her sorrow over a miscarriage, she said.
“It’s been sitting on my entertainment center since he brought it to me,” she said. “That’s one thing I will cherish forever. Not that I didn’t already, but now even more.”
Jeremy Holden said Williams stayed by his side after he was in a wreck and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He said he was the most loyal friend he’d every met and a standout guy.
“You wouldn’t think that looking at a tattooed guy, but his attitude was about helping people, not hurting them,” he said.
Holden said that this past Christmas, he and Mitchell grabbed Williams’ out-of-commission bike from his mom’s house and tuned it up for free as a surprise.
“That’s how he was for us though,” he said.
Reached Tuesday on Facebook, Blair Gunter said Williams was the best kind of friend he’s ever had and stood up for him when he was being bullied.
“He always stood up for the weak and was the first one there no matter what he had going on if one of his friends of loved ones called on him,” he said.
At 24 years old, Williams was sentenced to five years in prison for pleading guilty in 2008 to second-degree assault after he was accused of stabbing two men at the Opera House Billiard Club, 300 Main St., according to court records.
“When he got out, he turned his life around and got rid of that lifestyle that put him in prison for the first place,” Mitchell said.
In prison, Nader said, Williams accumulated tattoos. She said the tattoo of a shamrock on his neck represents his pride in his Irish heritage and a tattoo on his back, reading “Mama Tried,” is in honor of his mother, Tracy.
He also dearly loved his stepson, 14-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.
Seymour was another person to whom Williams extended his love.
The former pastor from upstate New York, who took to the road after his wife died of cancer in 2015, said he met Williams in May 2016 at Frank’s Ride for Children Poker Run raising money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
He said Williams invited him to stay with him in Longmont and over the course of a few days, he learned that the man years his junior was sincere and a lover of life, despite troubles through his life.
“The kid was so loyal and so open with his emotions and his understanding of the world and people and relationships,” he said, adding that he spent hours talking to him about many topics.
He also has memories of riding with Williams last August in Sturgis, S.D., where they rode together to the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
“All I can say is the kid had a great heart. My heart just breaks over this whole thing,” he said. “He was confused about some things like most people are, but he had a great heart and a good spirit about him … He’d give you the shirt off his own back.”