Originally created 09/15/03

Older sister of tennis stars Venus, Serena Williams shot to death

COMPTON, Calif. -- An older sister of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams was shot to death Sunday following a dispute in suburban Los Angeles, authorities said.

Yetunde Price, 31, was 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 searching for three people believed to be involved in the shooting surrounded a house in Compton at about 6 a.m., but it turned out to be empty.

No arrests had been made by midday.

Venus and Serena's agent, Carlos Fleming, said the family was en route to California. Serena has been in Toronto to film a guest role in the Showtime drama series "Street Time."

"This is sad and very tragic news," WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the WTA Tour are with the entire Williams family at this difficult time."

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.

Neighbor Robert Miller, 49, said he heard about a dozen gunshots.

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. Serena began playing tennis at age 5 1/2 on the neighborhood courts in Compton, coached by her father Richard.

The family later moved to Florida, where Venus and Serena live in Palm Beach Gardens. Richard and their mother Oracene are divorced, and Price used her mother's maiden name.

Price lived in Corona and worked as a personal assistant to her famous sisters. She was identified as a registered nurse and a business management major in the 2003 media guide for the WTA Tour.

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, although the season-ending WTA Tour championships in Los Angeles in November is a possibility.

Serena, ranked No. 3 in the world, and sixth-ranked Venus have combined to win nine of the past 14 Grand Slam titles. 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 other Williams sisters are Lyndrea, an actress and singer; and Isha, a lawyer and singer.


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