El CAJON —
San Ysidro High School basketball star Mikey Williams, who is accused of shooting at a vehicle last month in Jamul, pleaded not guilty Thursday to six felony charges.
Williams, 18, was arrested a week ago in connection with the shooting, which occurred at his house on Bratton Valley Road just before midnight March 27, authorities said. The gunfire from a handgun struck a vehicle, but no one was hurt. Five people were in the vehicle.
Williams was charged in El Cajon Superior Court with five counts of assault with a firearm and a count of shooting at an occupied vehicle. His first name appears as Michael in court records.
He faces 28 years in state prison if convicted of all charges, according to Deputy District Attorney George Modlin. A preliminary hearing was set for June 29, also in El Cajon.
Williams, who posted $50,000 bail after his arrest, appeared in court remotely via Microsoft Teams for his arraignment. Judge Louis Hanoian ordered him to stay away from the five victims of the shooting and prohibited him to possess firearms or ammunition.
After the hearing, Troy Owens, a lawyer representing Williams, said the allegations “are not an accurate reflection of what happened.” The attorney said a party did not take place at the home and that he was not aware of a “relationship” between Williams and the victims.
He declined to discuss any further details about the incident.
According to the county Sheriff’s Department, the shooting occurred after guests in the house were asked to leave and an argument ensued. Five people, including three minors, got into a vehicle. As they took off, the gunfire erupted.
The shooting was reported the next day. On April 13, sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant at the house and arrested Williams.
Modlin said deputies took “multiple” guns from the home, adding: “We believe there should not be any firearms in his home based on prior contacts with the police.”
Defendants in criminal cases are allowed to appear in court remotely for arraignments per court rules. Owens said Williams did not appear in court in person because of concerns about “the publicity” the case has attracted and Williams’ safety.
“We did not want him showing up in person,” Owens said. “There have been threats that are public and online. I can’t speak to the nature of those threats. I don’t know who the author of those threats is.”
Owens added, without elaborating: “His ongoing security is being addressed.”
The attorney said Williams is “stressed under the circumstances but confident that the truth will come out.”
Williams is one of the nation’s most recognizable prep basketball players, a social media sensation with a multimillion-dollar endorsement empire that includes a sneaker deal with Puma. His Instagram account had 3.8 million followers before it was deactivated last week.
In November, Williams and San Ysidro High School teammate JJ Taylor committed to play at the University of Memphis next season. University officials have said they were aware of the situation and “gathering more information.”
On Wednesday, Memphis coach Penny Hardaway told media: “I mean, I’m gonna continue to recruit. (But) as of right now, Mikey is still with us. That’s how I have to keep it until otherwise. That’s why I say, I can’t really speak on the case. Nothing has happened thus far.”
There were reports Thursday that Memphis was hosting a visit from highly-coveted guard Jaden Bradley, a McDonald’s all-American out of high school who played last season at Alabama. Hardaway identified point guard as one of his areas he is prioritizing in the transfer portal.
Williams is the son of Mahlon Williams, a legendary high school player from Sweetwater High School in the 1980s.
At San Ysidro his freshman year, Williams scored 41 points in his debut and 77 points in a game later on. The Cougars won the CIF-San Diego Section Division III title, and Williams was named the MaxPreps national freshman of the year.
Williams and his father moved to North Carolina for his sophomore and junior years, only to return to San Diego last spring.
In August, a few weeks after his 18th birthday, Williams moved into the $1.2 million home in Jamul. The five-acre property includes an infinity-edged pool and a tennis court.
He returned to San Ysidro as a senior, even though Jamul is technically in the Grossmont Union High School District, not Sweetwater Union High School District, which includes San Ysidro.
Williams averaged 23.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. The Cougars finished 18-13, didn’t win their South Bay league and lost in the semifinals of the CIF Open Division playoffs to eventual champion St. Augustine.
Still his business ventures soared. He helped rapper Drake launch an international clothing line in 2020. In July 2021, he signed with Excel Sports Managements, a marketing agency that represents professional athletes and celebrities. Later, Williams was in a commercial for the NBA 2K22 video game alongside Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum.
Williams also signed a multiyear contract to endorse Puma and launched his own channel on WEIV, a premium social media platform, at a poolside party in a swank Atlanta hotel during the BET Hip Hop Awards Week.
Staff writer Mark Zeigler contributed to this report.