By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 5, 2021

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) - Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday in the trial of an Alabama police officer accused in the fatal shooting of a suicidal man.

Huntsville Officer William Darby testified on his own behalf Wednesday, telling jurors he opened fire after Jeffrey Parker refused to drop a weapon. Darby described seeing Parker with a gun as two other officers stood nearby, WHNT-TV reported. Darby said the man shrugged when ordered to put down the gun, and he shot Parker once in the head with a shotgun.

The defense, which rested its case later Wednesday, argues that the shooting on April 3, 2018, was a justified case of self-defense, but prosecutors contend Darby killed the man without cause since Parker had a gun but never pointed his weapon at police.

Huntsville is the major city in north Alabama. A city review cleared Darby of wrongdoing, and he remains on the force with taxpayers helping fund his defense.

Police went to the home of Parker, 43, after he called 911 saying he intended to kill himself. Before Darby arrived, Genisha Pegues, who recently resigned as an officer, and Officer Justin Beckles talked with Parker, who was holding a gun to his head.



Pegues testified that she wasn’t pointing her weapon at Parker and didn’t feel threatened, news outlets reported.

“My goal was to see where he was as far as his mental state,” Pegues testified Tuesday. “My goal was to keep him talking, talk about other solutions than taking his life.”

The situation changed quickly when Darby arrived as backup. He ran to the front door of Parker’s home, yelled at Pegues to point her gun at the man and told Parker to drop the gun. When Parker failed to do so, Darby shot him in the face from across a room within seconds, video showed.

Darby later told an investigator that Pegues was in danger because she wasn’t pointing her weapon at Parker and didn’t have any cover.

“I regret it being necessary, but I do not regret my action,” Darby said in a video shown to jurors.

While the defense argues the shooting was a justified case of self-defense, prosecutors contend Darby killed the man without cause, since Parker never pointed his weapon at police.

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