Williamses' sister Yetunde killed in Compton Sept. 14, 2003
SportsLine.com wire reports
COMPTON, Calif. -- The oldest sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams was shot to death Sunday in the crime-ridden Los Angeles suburb that the family left years ago, authorities said.
Yetunde Price, a registered nurse who owned a beauty salon, was a personal assistant to her famous sisters.
Price, 31, had been with a man in a sport utility vehicle shortly after midnight and "somehow they had become involved in a confrontation with the local residents," said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Pena.
Sheriff's deputies surrounded a house in Compton early Sunday, searching for three people believed to be involved in the shooting, but the house turned out to be empty. No arrests had been made yet.
Price was shot in the upper torso. Deputies on patrol heard the gunshots and found Price, who was later pronounced dead at a hospital. The man who had been with her in the SUV wasn't injured and was being interviewed by authorities, Pena said.
"There's not one evil thing you could say about this girl. She never hurt any person. She was a quiet person," said Sheriee Brown, who lives in Compton and is a friend of Price.
"They say on the news that we get used to these shootings," said Brown's husband, David. "But no one gets used to it. Who could get used to living in a war zone?"
Neighbors reported hearing anywhere from six to 20 gunshots. Pena said an assault rifle was found at the shooting scene.
Rodolfo Pulido, who lives around the corner, was awakened by the shots but did not go outside.
"Week after week, I hear gunfire. It's common," he said.
Price was one of five Williams sisters who spent their early years in Compton, a crime- and poverty-ridden community where gang fighting has claimed many lives.
She was divorced and had three children, and had moved to Corona, Calif., 40 miles from Compton. She took her mother's maiden name a few years ago after her parents Richard and Oracene were divorced.
Venus, eight years younger than Yetunde, and Serena, a little more than nine years younger, often told about the gunshots they heard as they played tennis on Compton's public courts. When they turned professional as teenagers, they moved with their parents to Florida, as much for the courts and the coaching there as to escape the violence.
Yet nothing -- not stardom nor distance nor the demands of travel -- weakened the bonds they felt toward their sisters. Yetunde, Isha, a lawyer and singer, and Lyndrea, an actress and singer, could often be seen in press boxes and hotels with Venus and Serena.
At Wimbledon in July, when Venus was injured during her semifinal and considered quitting, her mother and sisters encouraged her to play on.
When the family gathered Sunday to grieve over Yetunde's death, they flew in to Isha's house in the Los Angeles area. Venus came from New York, and Serena from Toronto, where she was filming a guest role in a cable TV series. Serena had stayed nearby Isha recently, recovering from her knee surgery at the condo she kept in Los Angeles.
Venus and Serena Williams both had been ranked No. 1 in the world and have won a total of 10 Grand Slam singles titles.
Serena, 21, and Venus, 23, both missed the U.S. Open earlier this month because of injuries. Neither has said when they will play next.
They met in the final at five of the last six Slams, not including this year's U.S. Open. Serena won each of those times, and one or the other won every U.S. Open since 1999 until this year.
The Associated Press News Service
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