Hundreds gather to honor slain Ala. police officer

Officer Billy Fred Clardy III is remembered for carrying on his father’s law enforcement legacy

Ashley Remkus
Alabama Media Group

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Hugs were shared and tears were shed as hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil at the Fallen Officer Memorial outside the Huntsville Police Department on Sunday evening.

Soon the name of Officer Billy Fred Clardy III, a slain drug task force agent, will be added to the memorial.

Clardy’s name will be engraved next to a brick that commemorates his father, Huntsville police officer Billy Clardy Jr., who died in an on-duty crash more than four decades ago.

Even after his father’s death, Billy Clardy III always wanted to continue his family’s law enforcement legacy by becoming a policeman, said pastor Michael Clark, a former Huntsville police officer.

Clardy, a 48-year-old husband and father of five, was shot and killed Friday during a drug task force operation in northeast Huntsville.

A decorated Army veteran and longtime police officer, Clardy spent 14 years of his career serving the city of Huntsville.

“He is now in heaven, still watching over us — his city, his community, his country and his family of first responders,” said Mark Hooper, co-founder of Thin Line Support, the Huntsville nonprofit that hosted the vigil.

“Remember that our first responders are out there working, taking care of us and taking care of the community at the same time their families are sacrificing,” Hooper said. “Take a moment to pray over them because just as in the case of Billy Clardy, the next call they work may be the last moment they have of life.”

Huntsville police Chief Mark McMurray said he and other leaders met with Clardy’s widow on Sunday afternoon. He said the Clardy family is standing strong.

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said thousands of people from around the country have sent messages of support and condolences to the city and police department in the days since the deadly shooting.

“Many prayers went up all over this nation for the Huntsville Police Department, city of Huntsville, our community and most especially for the Clardy family,” Battle said. “We need to keep them in our prayers.”

The community, too, has rallied in support of the family and law enforcement community.

“We’ve seen a community that comes out (and) supports our law enforcement,” the mayor said. “We’ve seen a community that’s come together.”

Clardy’s funeral services will be Tuesday at Mayfair Church of Christ, 1095 Carl T Jones Drive S.E. in Huntsville. The viewing will be from noon-2 p.m. and the service will be held afterward. The city will be sharing a live broadcast of the services.

LaJeromeny Brown, the 41-year-old man accused of killing Clardy, is held in the Madison County jail on a capital murder charge. If convicted, he could face either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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