Darby said he grabbed his shotgun and ran to the house, where the other two officers were at the front stoop. Pegues was inside at the door and the other was on the stoop, he said, and he couldn’t see inside or ascertain the situation. Radio calls before he arrived asked for radio silence, he said. Darby said he feared Pegues was trying to negotiate with Parker without protecting herself. Her gun was down, he said and he thought Parker was about to shoot her. He told Pegues to raise her gun, he said.
Darby says call details scared him, thought could be ambush. Figured needed to have extra officers to set up perimeter. @whnt— Brian Lawson (@BrianLawson15) April 3, 2019
Darby said Pegues didn’t have control of the situation and he was afraid Parker would shoot her. It was obvious he needed to take control of the situation, he said. He moved into the home and pointed the shotgun at Parker’s face, he said, and ordered him twice to put his gun down. Parker shrugged after he told him the second time, and when his shoulder moved, the gun moved, Darby said. He fired one shot at Parker, he said, “effectively ending the threat.”
Officer Darby says he was in fear for the other officers safety when he arrived on scene. Adds that he desperately was trying to figure out what was happening. @whnt— Chelsea Brentzel (@ChelseaBrentzel) April 3, 2019
After Darby’s testimony, video from his body camera that night was played in the courtroom. The video shows Darby getting his shotgun, running to the house and telling Pegues to point her gun at Parker. Video shows the shot Darby fired hit Parker in the chin.
Darby says given circumstances of situation felt had no other choice but shot Parker. @whnt— Brian Lawson (@BrianLawson15) April 3, 2019
After the video was played, prosecutors asked Darby if he ever intended to arrest Parker. Darby said he hoped the situation would turn into an attempted suicide, and that they could get Parker to a hospital for help. When asked what law Parker had broken when Darby shot him, Darby said he didn’t follow a lawful order from a police officer and obstructed justice by not allowing him to do his job. Prosecutor Tim Gann asked Parker if he is trained to deescalate a situation if possible. Darby replied that he was, but said he can’t deescalate a situation with an armed suspect and an officer who has no cover. Gann said in court the first two officers on the scene had far more experience than Darby’s 28 months on the force. He also asked Darby why he didn’t tell the officer in the room to move if she could have been shot. He answered his only option was to shoot, given the “strict circumstances” of the situation and the actions of the other officers.
Darby runs to Parker’s home w a shotgun. He immediately begins to breathe heavily. He asked the officer who was inside to “point her f****** gun at him” adds that “he can shoot you” @whnt— Chelsea Brentzel (@ChelseaBrentzel) April 3, 2019
Gann asked Darby to read a portion from a police training manual that said communication between an officer and a suspect gives an opportunity to resolve a situation peacefully. Gann then said when Darby arrived at the scene, the officer was talking to Parker and asking him what made him want to take his own life. Parker was sitting down with the gun and was responding, Gann said. But Darby said the officer wasn’t calming the situation and he feared she would be shot. In the video, Gann said Parker told the officer he wasn’t going to shoot her. Darby replied he didn’t hear that. He also said Parker told them he was not going to put the gun down, which was a threat. Darby said he had to follow his training, and Parker refused multiple commands to drop the gun.
Gann says Darby was on scene about 2 seconds started yelling to point his ‘f…in’ gun at him. She told him gun is at his head. Darby says he doesn’t recall that. @whnt— Brian Lawson (@BrianLawson15) April 3, 2019
The second witness called in the hearing, Snead Police Department training officer Ron Kiker, said a suspect with a gun to his own head still poses a threat to an officer. He testified that a study showed a suspect can move a gun from his head to a firing position in 3/10ths of a second, while it takes officers 5/10ths of a second to respond. The third witness was FBI Agent Curtis Parker, an a instructor who teaches “officer survival,” which includes tactics, mindset and firearms training to police officers. Darby had attended an officer survival school in 2017. Parker also testified that reaction is slower than action.
Cross examination of first witness, prosecutor Tim Gann, pushes on idea that study considers if suspect acting aggressively. Reads study which says ‘we’re not saying shoot everyone with a gun.’ @whnt— Brian Lawson (@BrianLawson15) April 3, 2019
Under cross-examination from prosecutors, Agent Parker testified that he doesn’t teach officers to shoot all suspects with a gun, but he also doesn’t teach them not to shoot all suspects with a gun. He said a suspect who isn’t compliant while holding a gun is a big red flag, but also said he doesn’t teach about what to do when a suspect is holding a gun to his own head. After lunch, the court viewed video from Darby’s interview with investigators. In that interview, Darby said he felt the situation would go from bad to worse because there was an officer without cover there, an emotional and “unstable” subject, and that person was not responding to commands. He told investigators he took enough time to assess the situation and made eye contact with Parker, who he believes understood his verbal command to drop the gun. He said by shooting Parker, he stopped a threat.
Parker says action vs. reaction is tough in situations when a suspect has a gun… says “responding to someone’s behavior is hard”— Chelsea Brentzel (@ChelseaBrentzel) April 3, 2019
Darby said during the interview that he regretted that action being necessary, but not the action itself. He said he is not going to second-guess his action based on the information that he had. He said he had to make an unfortunate decision based on objective facts. approved spending up to $125,000 for Darby’s defense.
Darby reiterated in interview that with the info he had, he is not going to second guess his action. He said they could talk about everything else “until the cows come home” but he did what he felt was right after subject was given multiple chances to respond to commands @WHNT— Kristen Conner (@KConnerTweets) April 3, 2019