Is Texas-born Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen ignited racial upheaval in a St. Louis suburb, an aggressor whose deadly gunfire constituted a daylight execution or a law enforcer wrongly maligned for just doing his job? The Associated Press says an incomplete picture of 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 28-year-old officer has gone underground since the shooting, with relatives contacted by AP refusing to reveal his whereabouts or discuss the shooting or Wilson’s background.
His parents were married only four years before divorcing in 1989. Court records say Wilson 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. An online fundraising drive on Wilson’s behalf has drawn $77,000 in donations for the tall, slender and blond-haired cop. A longtime friend, former high school classmate and hockey buddy Jake Shepard, has come to Wilson’s defense, insisting 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.” Shepard added, “I can tell you for sure it was not racially motivated.”