Philip Victor Williamson, Long Beach Murder Victim, Killed Over Medical Marijuana?

UPDATED, JULY 12, 1 P.M.: The Long Beach Police Department has now released surveillance footage from a local liquor store that they hope may lead them to a person of interest in the murder of Philip Victor Williamson, a former Chico resident police suspect may have been killed because of his role as a long-distance marijuana hauler.

The footage shows a man in a black sweatshirt and black pants making a purchase inside the store. He left in the black 2002 Toyota 4Runner described below. More interestingly, the press release accompanying the new footage finally provides an indication as to why the cops want to find the mystery SUV driver: it turns out that the receipt from this man’s purchase at the liquor store was found in Williamson’s residence.

Call the number after the jump if you have any useful information to share with investigators.

ORIGINAL POST, JULY 6, 1 P.M.: On March 24, the body of Philip Victor Williamson, 29, was discovered in an alley near the 1500 block of Pine Ave. in downtown Long Beach. At first, police had no leads, although they suspected the motive may have been robbery. But according to a press release issued by the Long Beach Police Department yesterday, the cops have done some field work and now think they have an inkling of what caused Williamson’s death: his apparent involvement in California’s quasi-underground medical marijuana economy.

The Chico Enterprise-Record posted an article today noting that Long Beach police visited Chico recently, and along with volunteers, they “distributed fliers in a neighborhood near the Chico State University campus, where Williamson was known to spend time.” According to the newspaper, Williamson “grew up in Chico but was living in Los Angeles” at the time of his murder. “Wlliamson was known to transport large quantities of processed marijuana between Chico and Los Angeles, selling it to medical marijuana collectives, the paper continued. “He wasn’t known to frequent Long Beach, and his reason for being in the city that night remains a mystery, police said. Police haven’t ruled out robbery as a motive in the killing, noting that items Williamson should have had in his possession are missing.”

If that “lead”–the notion that somehow Williamson was murdered in Long Beach because he was known to “transport large quantities of process marijuana” up and down the coast–sounds a bit tenuous, at least the cops do have a somewhat concrete tip, involving a black Toyota SUV that had an “association” with the victim on the day he died, whatever that means.

Here’s the press release, which you can click to see a sketch of the mystery vehicle, in its entirety:

On Sunday, June 26, 2011, the Long Beach Police Department issued a News Release asking for the public’s help in solving the murder of 29-year-old Philip Victor Williamson of Los Angeles who was found shot in an alley in the 1500 block of Pine Avenue on March 24, 2011.


Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives were in Chico, California from June 26th through June 28th, investigating the murder and trying to determine if the victim’s involvement in the distribution of marijuana to medical marijuana collectives played a role in his death.


A Public Information Bulletin was passed out in several neighborhoods frequented by Victim Williamson in Chico, and news media covered the investigation updates in both the Chico and Los Angeles areas.


These efforts have provided additional leads in the case that investigators are following.  Detectives have learned of an association between a vehicle described as a black 4-door Toyota 4-Runner SUV type vehicle and the victim on the day of his death.  Detectives are interested in locating this vehicle in hopes of identifying and questioning its owner. 


Anyone with information regarding this vehicle or its owner, or with information relating to this case is strongly urged to contact Long Beach Police Homicide Detectives Scott Lasch and Donald Goodman at (562) 570-7244.

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