Police Arrest Alleged Suspect After NBA Player Used Twitter to Track Down Aunt's Killer

Matt Barnes had launche a social media manhunt.

ByABC News
July 29, 2014, 1:34 PM

— -- Authorities in Sacramento said a man has been taken into police custody today after he allegedly murdered the aunt of NBA player Matt Barnes.

Over the past few days, Barnes had used his celebrity status to launch a social media manhunt. The Los Angeles Clippers small forward pleaded with his hundreds of thousands of Twitter and Instagram followers to keep an eye out for Michael Williams, the prime suspect in the murder of Barnes’ aunt Tanganyika Hoover. 48.

In a tweet, Sacramento Police said Williams is "in police custody thanks to a citizen tip. He was located in the Sacramento area."

Authorities did not provide any further details.

Hoover was estranged from Williams, but the two were staying at a friend’s house on the morning of July 8, when the friend said he found Hoover outside, her neck slashed, struggling for life.

Williams was nowhere to be found, police said.

Following his aunt’s death, Barnes felt compelled to act. So he posted images of Williams, along with a plea: “This dude stabbed my auntie in the neck last week & left her for dead on the sidewalk, she ended up dying on the way to the hospital in the ambulance.”

The post quickly spread from Barnes’ friends to his fans, to strangers he’s never met.

“Having the platform that I have, I wanted to speak out on social media,” Barnes said before today's arrest.

“When it’s your family, you just feel like you … you can do more. You want to do more,” he said.

Hoover struggled to talk in her final moments, Barnes said. She was trying to say ‘M.’

“She was trying to say who did it and what happened,” Barnes said. “And she, you know, literally, with her throat being cut … lost her voice.”

Williams was considered the only suspect, Sacramento Police Chief Sam Somers said.

Somers said the attention Barnes has given to the case has been helpful.

"He's a local kid. He has a following here in Sacramento. And having his name attached with us and helping in this investigation will help us actually solve this matter,” Somers said.

As for Barnes, the offseason has been busy. He’s preparing to host the Matt Barnes Basketball Camp from Aug. 4-8. His 12th NBA season is approaching, too. Beyond the court, he promises to keep fighting for justice for his beloved aunt.

“In her unfortunate passing, I’m hoping to be her voice and, y’know, her eyes and ears and really try to help in any way possible,” he said.