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Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting


FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - A police officer whose shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old ignited racial upheaval in a St. Louis suburb has been characterized as either an aggressor whose deadly gunfire constituted a daylight execution or a law enforcer wrongly maligned for just doing his job.

An incomplete picture of Texas-born Ferguson officer Darren Wilson has emerged since Aug. 9, when authorities say the white six-year police veteran killed Michael Brown during a confrontation in the predominantly black city where all but three of the 53 police officers are white.

The Brown family's attorneys have labeled Wilson as a murderer, though the investigation continues and no charges have been filed. The 28-year-old officer has gone underground since the shooting, with relatives contacted by The Associated Press refusing to reveal his whereabouts or discuss the shooting or Wilson's background.

But snippets of his life have emerged. His parents were married only four years before divorcing in 1989 in Texas. Court records say he divorced last November. His mother, a convicted forger and alleged con artist, died 12 years ago. Wilson got a commendation in February from the Ferguson police force, four years into his job there.

Video Shows Ferguson Cop Months Before Shooting

An online fundraising drive on Wilson's behalf as of Thursday had drawn more than $77,000 in donations for the tall, slender and blond-haired cop. And a longtime friend - former high school classmate and hockey buddy Jake Shepard - publicly has come to Wilson's defense, insisting in interviews that the shy Wilson would never maliciously take a life and fears possible retribution.

Having talked to Wilson since the shooting, Shepard said, "I think he's kind of struggling a little bit, but I think he's doing OK."

"He didn't really want to talk much about it," Shepard, also 28, said of Brown's death. "But I can tell you for sure it was not racially motivated. He's not the type of person to harbor any hate for anybody. He was always nice, respectable and well-mannered, a gentleman. He doesn't have anything bad to say about anybody, ever. He's very genuine."

Similar depictions of Wilson, who has been on paid administrative leave since Brown's death, have come from his boss, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.

During a Ferguson City Council meeting in February, Wilson got special recognition from Jackson for what the chief said then was his role in responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle, then struggling with the driver and detaining him for arrest until help arrived. Jackson said the suspect was preparing a large quantity of marijuana for sale. His proclamation in hand, according a video of the meeting obtained Tuesday by the AP, Wilson returned to his seat with a broad grin.

"He was a gentle, quiet man," Jackson told reporters last Friday while publicly identifying Wilson, a four-year veteran of the department after spending two policing in nearby Jennings, as the officer who shot Brown, noting that Wilson has no prior disciplinary record. Calling Wilson "distinguished" and "a gentleman," Jackson added that "he is, he has been, an excellent officer."

Online court records show that Wilson's mother - Tonya Durso, also known as Tonya Harris - pleaded guilty in 2001 to a dozen felony stealing and forgery counts in Missouri's St. Charles County just west of St. Louis and was sentenced to five years on probation, with the judge suspending a five-year prison sentence. Durso was 35 when she died in 2002, and Wilson was placed under the guardianship of Tyler Harris until a St. Charles County judge dissolved that in mid-2004.

Wilson, who has Missouri hunting and fishing licenses, did not answer the AP's knock Tuesday on his door at his brick, ranch-style home in Missouri's Crestwood, a largely white St. Louis suburb some 18 miles southwest of Ferguson.

More on Protests in Ferguson:

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ronaldwstanley August 20 2014 at 7:00 PM

OMG!!!!! He has a hunting and fishing license; he has to be guilty!!!!

Flag Reply +103 rate up
19 replies
eurocardriver000 August 20 2014 at 7:01 PM

Leave the Cop alone... he's totally innocent and a great guy.

Get over it people. He's a hero.

Flag +111 rate up
50 replies
Greg Nugent August 20 2014 at 7:02 PM

It is becoming apparent this officer was just doing his job and Brown was the aggressor. A tragic story.

Flag Reply +107 rate up
42 replies
Frank Barr August 20 2014 at 7:02 PM

If only the white cops died instead then all would be right for Holder and rev Al cause as we all know the white man is the devil. And Holder is going to prove it

Flag Reply +101 rate up
21 replies
jennaleighphotography August 20 2014 at 7:02 PM

I'm not sure what his parents past has to do with anything. It seems there is nothing about him specifically they can say negatively. Yet the "victim" had just finished robbing a store and assaulting the owner. That was all I had to see

Flag Reply +105 rate up
48 replies
Max August 20 2014 at 7:03 PM

UPDATE: Police officers “have arrested one suspect, a juvenile male, in connection to the beating death of an 88 year old man earlier this week,” the Spokane Police Department said in a statement on Twitter. The suspect is 16-year-old Demetruis Glenn. The other attacker is still at large.

Original story below:

A WWII veteran who fought at the Battle of Okinawa, where he took a bullet to the leg and continued fighting, was beaten to death by two teens Wednesday night.

Delbert Belton, 88, from Spokane, Wash., was pronounced dead Thursday morning, KHQ reported.

Two male teens pummeled Belton outside a pool hall in what police describe a random attack.

"There was no indication that he would have known these people prior to the assault," Spokane Police Major Crimes Detective Lieutenant Mark Griffiths said.

Belton, who friends affectionally called "Shorty," enjoyed playing pool and working on cars.

Belton was Ted Denison's best friend of 23 years, Denison said in an interview with KX

Flag Reply +100 rate up
24 replies
Webster August 20 2014 at 7:06 PM

Wait, so this Officer had a rough life as well and managed to get it together to contribute to community????? WOW where are his excuses???? Rev AL please stop lying to the unintelligent Ferguson community. You know d@ well Eric Holder didn't come because of "peaceful" protests. He came because this city looked like fools on national TV. Personally I believe he and the Pres know the Officer will win this case but need to "show" concern!! Until kids from black and black crime get the same attention I hope EVERY Zimmerman and Officer Wilson WALKS!!!!! Funny how the race hustling lawyers (VERY nervous about grand jury I see) keep losing cases against juries who hate aggressive angry THUGS!

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16 replies
remcoisp1963cobb August 20 2014 at 7:06 PM

That Brown family is probably already picking out the brand new 2015 Caddy they'll be buy with some of the money from that big fat settlement they'll be suing for. After all, that's what Trayvon Martin's family did.

Flag Reply +105 rate up
39 replies
joet7373 August 20 2014 at 7:06 PM


The police want to hear from the man who voice can be heard on this video . He is clearly saying that Brown is going after the cop . So before you crucify this cop , lets hear the whole story

Flag Reply +106 rate up
28 replies
Thomas August 20 2014 at 7:06 PM

We still don't have all the evidence, but I hope that the officer gets a fair hearing and is treated the same as the thug...I mean victim.

Flag Reply +102 rate up
11 replies
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