Police officers, educators support Fullerton family during time of unimaginable loss


The boy wrote his mom a thank you note.

Outrageously strong, he called her.

Jordan Christopher Williams wrote that about Tamika Williams shortly after she served as his bone marrow donor in June 2013.

Diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia when he was 6, Jordan relapsed at 8 and again at 10.

Despite his mother’s efforts and those of the best pediatric cancer specialists at CHOC Children’s, Jordan died on Nov. 27, 2013 — the day before Thanksgiving, and less than six months after the bone marrow transplant.

“I was able to give him life one more time,” Tamika said from her Fullerton home as she clasped the hand of her husband, Robbie.

A prosecutor at the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Tamika is no stranger to tragedies.

Neither is her husband, a sergeant and 20-year veteran of the Hawthorne Police Department.

Tamika Williams calls her late son, Jordan,  her "gladiator and hero." Photo: Steven Georges

Tamika Williams calls her late son, Jordan, her “gladiator and hero.” Photo: Steven Georges

When tragedy hit home, the Williams family — including Jordan’s twin sister, Lauren — only could handle so much on their own.

Relatives and close friends proved to be invaluable.

So, too, did the Williams’ huge circle of supporters in law enforcement, as well as educators who work with Tamika in the D.A.’s Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP).

On Nov. 20, 2014, near the one-year anniversary of Jordan’s death, Fullerton Police Chief Dan Hughes joined several others at Maple Elementary School in Fullerton to honor the boy.

They planted a lavender tree — purple was Jordan’s favorite color — surrounded by rocks with printed messages.

“To my boy, Jordan, with love,” Robbie Williams, 46, wrote.

“You’re my gladiator, my hero, I miss you,” Tamika’s rock reads.

Jordan embodied the description he gave his mother:

Outrageously strong.

That, and so much more.


Robert Williams, a sergeant with the Hawthorne PD, talks about the unimaginable pain of losing a child. Photo: Steven Georges

Robbie Williams, a sergeant with the Hawthorne PD, talks about the unimaginable pain of losing a child. Photo: Steven Georges

Jordan was wildly popular with his schoolmates at Sierra Vista Elementary in Placentia.

He was super smart, super athletic and super fashionable.

He also embodied a tremendous spirit of compassion, service and forgiveness.

In an essay Jordan wrote for the school newspaper, he pleaded for an end to bullying:

It only takes one kid to stand up to a bully and inspire others to do the same thing.

Jordan also loved to cook.

Skateboarding, video games, handball, basketball, soccer, building Legos.

He loved those things, too.

Jordan Thomas was super smart, super athletic and super fashionable. Photo courtesy of Williams family

Jordan Williams was super smart, super athletic and super fashionable. Photo courtesy of Williams family

As a prosecutor at the North Justice Center in Fullerton from 2007 and 2010, Tamika developed ties with Fullerton PD officers.

When Jordan got sick, cops there and in Hawthorne, as well as several employees of the County of Orange, donated sick hours so Jordan’s parents could take time off to be with family.

The D.A’s Office also was extremely supportive of Tamika. Her colleagues provided three years worth of housekeeping service.

Seems that any cop or anyone connected to law enforcement who heard about Jordan’s plight wanted to help him and his family.

LAPD officers flew Jordan around in a helicopter.

Deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department boated him to Catalina.

Hawthorne Police Chief Robert Fager arranged for VIP treatment and a tour of Dodger Stadium for Jordan and his family with baseball legend Maury Wills.

Those good times helped break up the medical ordeal Jordan had to endure. He had 18 stints in the intensive care unit and spent about a year in the hospital battling leukemia.

When all hope was lost, his family was able to spend six good weeks with him.

“All he wanted to do was go to school,” Tamika, 42, said. “He just wanted to learn. He was robbed of that.”

Near the end, Jordan became spiritual. He asked to be baptized a Christian, and was.

“Right before he passed,” Tamika says, “we held his hand and asked him to be our angel, and he promised to watch over us.”


This image of Jordan was made into a version made of Legos that hangs on the wall in the living room of the WIlliams' Fullerton home. Photo courtesy of Williams family.

This image of Jordan was made into a version made of Legos that hangs on the wall in the living room of the WIlliams’ Fullerton home. Photo courtesy of Williams family.

Jordan’s home school, Sierra Vista, also planted a tree in his honor after he died.

Tamika and Robbie say that Sierra Vista Principal Cyndi Rex and the entire school community were “wonderful” and supported the family during the 4½ years Jordan battled cancer — and even after he passed.

The Hawthorne Police Officers Association provided “tremendous” financial support to the family for the memorial service, which also was supported by the Manhattan Police Department. And officers from many agencies continue to support the family today.

Last fall, Maple Elementary became one of the new GRIP school in Fullerton.

When the one-year anniversary of Jordan’s death came in 2014, Assistant District Attorney Tracy Miller and the GRIP/Injunction unit in the D.A.’s office, Chief Hughes and the Fullerton PD, Adam Caselles and O.C. Probation, Kristen Gaborno and the CSP team, and Maple Principal Susan Mercado and her team wanted to do something in memory of him.

They wanted to let the Williams family know that Jordan always will be remembered.

So they planted the lavender tree is honor of the fifth-grader.

Photo: Steven Georges

Photo: Steven Georges

“Our loss has been great, our pain at times too much to bear, but we endure one day at a time with the strength of our faith and the love and support of so many who care,” Tamika says.

“We are so grateful to everyone who came together to honor our son in such a beautiful way so his memory may live on.”

Said Chief Hughes: “Tamika and her entire family are incredibly wonderful people who have endured pain that few will ever understand. It was an extreme honor to be able to witness the amazing love and strength Tamika and Robbie demonstrate. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet Jordan because he was obviously an amazing kid.”

Jordan, in his thank you note to his mom, raved about her beauty:

She has unforgettable flowing hair and gorgeous brown eyes that blow everyone away.

Jordan then added a line his parents and twin sister, Lauren, now 11, whisper to him every day in their hearts:

I can never ever ever let you get hurt even for the tiniest scratch.

(From left) Tamika Williams, Lauren, 11 (Jordan's twin), Robert Williams. Photo: Steven Georges

(From left) Tamika, Lauren, 11 (Jordan’s twin) and Robbie Williams. Photo: Steven Georges