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Alabama officer charged with murder in death of suicidal man

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – An Alabama police officer on Friday was charged with murder in the shooting death of an armed man who told the police that he was suicidal.

Huntsville police officer William Darby, 25, was accused of murder on the costs for the April 3 shooting of 49-year-old Jeffrey Parker.

Darby was one of the three police officers who responded to a report of a suicidal man with a gun. The police said that Darby shot Parker after the commands to drop the firearm were not followed.

A police review board initially cleared Darby in the shooting, but Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard told news outlets that his office was involved in the shooting was not justified. The case was presented to a grand jury that returned the indictment.

“The revision of the file, we had great concerns about what was happening in the house,” Broussard told local news media in a press conference.

Broussard declined to discuss the details of what happened in the recording.

“Usually what you see is the question of whether an officer reasonably feared for his life, before he was forced to use deadly force. And on these particular facts and circumstances of the case, we had to ensure that this was not a justified shooting,” the prosecutor said.

Huntsville Police Chief Mark McMurray on Friday defended When actions, saying that he has the “full support” of the department.

“Officer Darby was called upon to make a split-second decision, a decision in a nightmare scenario, the kind that most people will never ever experience,” McMurray said in a press conference. “He is not a murderer.”

McMurray told the news outlets that Darby has been relieved of his duties and is working in an “administrative capacity” in anticipation of the process. It is unclear from court documents if Darby has obtained a lawyer.

There is the body camera footage of the shooting of the three officers who responded to the scene, Broussard said. The video is not released to the public. Grand jurors saw the body of images from the camera-and video-interviews with the officers.

WHNT reported that the Parker 911 the day of the shooting. Parker told the operator that he was suicidal and had a gun, the station reported.

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Information from: The Birmingham News, http://www.al.com/birminghamnews

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