HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Two pictures emerged Friday — depending on who you were listening to — of William Darby, the Huntsville police officer charged with murder stemming from an on-duty shooting in April.
Darby was indicted Friday in the shooting death of Jeffery Louis Parker, and he’s looking at an October trial date. The Madison County District Attorney’s office is prosecuting him.
Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray said Darby’s actions potentially saved the lives of two fellow officers and he followed his police training.
The young officer is in the middle of a storm.
Darby is 25, he graduated from the Huntsville police academy in July 2016. Records show he lives in Hartselle.
While he was a police cadet he won the “Top Gun” award, achieving the highest marksmanship score in his class for pistol and shotgun accuracy.
His attorney Robert Tuten, a former police officer, had a simple description for his new client.
“He’s a Huntsville police officer, a fairly young officer,” Tuten said. “He has not been on the force very long, just around two years or so, and has worked during that time as a patrol officer and apparently a very good one.”
Darby’s “LinkedIn” page shows he started the police academy in February 2016, and he had previously earned his degree at Pensacola Christian College.
He had nearly three years of experience working at the Pensacola College as a dispatcher and security officer.
Now, the young officer is charged with killing an armed, suicidal man.
Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray said Friday Darby was, “called upon to make split-second decisions in a nightmare scenario.”
A police department shooting review panel cleared him in May, but the Madison County District Attorney’s office found problems with the shooting. District Attorney Rob Broussard held a press conference Friday and discussed the murder indictment.
“Usually what you’re looking at is whether an officer reasonably feared for his life, before he was forced, to take, to use deadly physical force,” Broussard said. “And on these particular facts of the case, we had concern.”
Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle Friday called Darby, a “valued and responsible member of the force.”
His life was turned upside down this week and he reached out for help.
“Just in the last few days he contacted me about representation, and told me he was being investigated,” Tuten said.