Prosecutors say a father of two grabbed an officer’s gun and accidentally shot himself and was killed, but civil rights activists and the man’s family are not satisfied with that conclusion.
The shooting happened in the court’s parking lot on the 500 block of West Ridge Road around 10:40 a.m.
District Attorney Kat Copeland said the incident happened after 34-year-old Darren Williams, of Chester, was arraigned. Following the hearing, according to the DA, a Trainer police officer and a constable returned to the cell to get Williams, who then immediately shoved the door open and pushed past the officers.
While in the parking lot, Williams took a swing at the Trainer police officer and ended up pushing him to the ground. According to the DA, a constable tased Williams, with no effect.
Copeland said while they were on the ground, Williams was able to grab the officer’s gun.
During the struggle, police said Williams appeared to have accidentally shot himself in the stomach and the constable shot him twice in the back.
Williams was at court today after he was arrested Thursday night in Trainer for DUI and driving recklessly at a high rate of speed. Copeland said Williams was extremely combative during the arrest and there were multiple attempts to subdue him. The DA added that Williams stole his girlfriend’s vehicle and threatened to kill her.
“He was under arrest and was told to place his hands behind his back. He began struggling with four officers and refused to take commands with them,” Copeland said.
Witnesses say they heard two shots at the time of the incident.
“I heard him say, ‘I got the gun now,’” one witness said.
Eyewitness Amanda Norton claims the suspect was restrained when the constable shot him.
“The officers, when they ran up to him, the white officer was closed-fist punching the black guy. They finally restrained him to the ground, tased him twice with the stun gun. They had him on his stomach side and they said that the gentleman tried to reach for the gun. I saw the whole thing. How could he reach for the gun when he’s restrained and he can’t move? He did not try to reach for the gun and the other sheriff shot him twice in the back. It’s wrong, black lives matter and what happened right now with these cops was uncalled for,” Norton said.
However, Copeland said eyewitness accounts and video of the incident point to the contrary.
“She did not have a direct point of view with what she saw,” Copeland said.
Another eyewitness said he saw two officers chasing the prisoner.
“The prisoner and two constables came running out of the building. They were chasing the prisoner. The prisoner somehow got the gun, one constable tased him, and then the other constable grabbed the gun, the gun went off, and the guy was shot,” the witness said.
Eyewitness News is told there is surveillance video of the altercation and the community is calling for that video to be released.