MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An 11-year-old girl became the youngest recipient of a Community Leadership Award from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Friday.

Thalia Williams received the Outstanding Citizen Award for her bravery in testifying in a case against a man who brutally attacked her father.

“The trial has had a big impact on my life,” Williams said.

Thalia was the only one home with her father last year when he was stabbed by a former business associate. He suffered severe wounds to his head, neck, and arm.

“It was very scary because [I knew] the guy who tried to murder him,” Williams said. “He had stayed in our house.”

Williams took the stand to identify her father’s attacker during trial in April.  The jury convicted him of attempted murder.  As she accepted her award for community leadership, her father, Justin Williams, was brought to tears.

“We knew years ago that she was going to do great things,” Justin Williams said.

A week after the trial ended, Thalia Williams made another brave move. She recognized a soda pop bottle on the sidewalk as a bomb.

“My grandma had told me about them about two to three years earlier in a story, and I remembered, and I told my mom,” she said.

Her mother, Julia Williams, called police. A Minneapolis bomb squad detonated the device and no one was hurt.

“She’s a pretty neat kid,” Julia Williams said.

The sixth grader still finds time for gymnastics and cooking. She has her sights on being a prosecutor someday.

“She can do whatever she wants,” Justin said. “That I know.”

Justin Williams’ attacker was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Five other leaders were recognized for their community contributions in Friday’s ceremony. This was the 53rd annual Community Leadership Awards program.

Kate Raddatz

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