KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A single mother is working through the trauma of a KCK crime spree that left her stranded in the middle of the road and her kids alone with the man who carjacked her.
Three weeks after prosecutors say Curtis Ayers killed a detective, shot another person, and carjacked several others, one of his alleged victims is speaking out.
The crime spree started near Hollywood Casino on May 9th. That's where investigators say Ayers shot a Kansas City police detective and carjacked a woman, taking off her with two children. Detective Brad Lancaster died from his injuries. Ayers is charged with killing the KCK detective and has been in custody since.
Officers in Kansas City, Kansas are still hurting from losing one of their own, but even in their pain, they realize there were a lot of people affected that day. They're taking up collections to help a single, young mother who found herself right in the middle of the crime spree.
MaLia Williams is still emotionally processing what happened.
"Although the day itself is over with, it just opened up a whole new realm for us that is a challenge every day. Every time it comes on camera [on the news] it's almost just like, like what? That was my family, those were my kids, I was that woman they were speaking about. It's surreal," she described.
Williams and her two kids were heading to the grocery store when she heard a crash and turned around. She didn't know the man she'd turned around to help is someone police say had just shot a KCK detective, or that the man would continue his crime spree after. Williams said the man pointed a gun at her and stole her car with her kids inside, while she held onto the seatbelt as she was getting dragged through the street. She suffered road rash and her left arm was broken in three places.
"For several minutes, I tried stopping traffic begging for help. People drove by me, didn't roll down the window. I'm screaming, someone just kidnapped my children, took my car. People just kept driving," Williams said.
The single mother said she felt broken and helpless: "Now he's got a weapon, he's in my car, those are my kids."
The man ultimately left her car and her children unharmed, but the damage he did has taken a toll, especially on MaLia's 3-year-old.
"He's so aware. He was directly behind me in the car when it happened, so he saw everything. There's not one time we get in a vehicle where he's not thinking, that bad guy that, that bad guy this," she said.
Her car is part of the evidence. She can't get it, or the things inside, until after the trial. The waitress also can't work without the use of both arms.
"We don't have any means for transportation. It's just hard to, I can't work to provide money to go get a car. I'm just a stalemate," she explained.
The young mom has faith God will help her provide for her two kids, but she has a long road ahead of making ends meet and getting over the emotional toll.
"I have a lot of anger and resentment towards him, but at the same time, I want to thank him for not hurting my children, so it's like a twisted kind of feeling. I just go to God for that," Williams said.
She holds onto her kids a little tighter now and believes together, they'll pull through.
"I know our love is strong, and it's stronger every day through it, but it's just hard," she said.