A local gay man who had worked at Secrets, the Fireplace and most recently Remington’s died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Silver Spring, Md., at about 2:43 a.m. on June 6.
Aaron J. “AJ” Williams was 26 and lived in Langley Park, Md., according to friends including his boyfriend, Walter Somarriba. A memorial service was held Tuesday at First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover, Md.
Williams was born April 7, 1987.
Secrets bartender Russell Schuerch says he got to know Williams first as a customer and then more later when Williams came on staff as a bar back.
“After a while we got to be good friends,” Williams says. “You have your bar friends and then friends who become close enough that you’re friends outside the bar too and that’s how we were. He easily transitioned over to being a personal friend and I helped him get on at Secrets.”
Schuerch says Williams worked there about six or nine months for a stint about two years ago. He eventually left because the Fireplace offered him more hours, Schuerch said.
Somarriba, 21, says he and Williams had been dating nearly a year and met each other on a Metro train near Fort Totten. They lived together in Langley Park and moved in together after just a few dates.
“AJ accepted me for who I am and we just clicked,” Somarriba said. “He just believed in me and gave me my first job, my first phone. He pushed me a lot and had the greatest influence on my life. He helped me a lot.”
Williams was a native of the D.C. area. Somarriba says he had family in the area and had introduced Somarriba to his mother “just recently.”
“He was not really that close with his family but he did talk to them,” Somarriba said.
NBC 4 Washington reported that the car Williams was driving crashed into a brick wall at University Boulevard West and Dennis Avenue in Silver Spring. The gray 2009 Honda Civic was traveling eastbound when the driver lost control while attempting to go around a curve, NBC reported. The car struck a tree and a brick wall before stopping in the parking lot of 401 University Boulevard West. Williams was taken to MedStar along with a passenger. Williams died soon after and the passenger, identified as Jose Adolfo Alvarado Castillo, 31, sustained serious injuries, according to a WUSA Channel 9 report of the crash.
Somarriba said Williams was a good person.
“He was loved by all and touched a lot of hearts,” Somarriba said.
Friends are collecting money to cover his funeral expenses. Those interested in donating can search his name — Aaron Jerel Williams — at youcaring.com.