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Officer fired after being charged with murder


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    PRICHARD, Alabama (WALA) — The Prichard Police Department on Tuesday fired a police officer charged with murder in the death of a neighbor.

Prichard authorities said they also have launched their own investigation of Johnathan Murphy II, 35.

According to Mobile police, officers responded at about 10:15 p.m. Monday to reports of a shooting at Avalon Plaza Apartments on Michael Boulevard. Authorities pronounced Taylor dead. Police arrested Murphy early Tuesday.

Mobile police said Murphy was working as a courtesy officer in his spare time, providing security to Avalon Place, where he also lived.

Investigators have not released much information about the shooting, including a possible motive. A resident, who asked not to be identified, said Murphy and Larry Taylor lived on separate levels of the same building and that bad blood had been brewing for about three months over loud music.

Neighbor Ashley Pope said she was in her apartment with her two children getting ready for bed when she heard the gunshots.

“All of a sudden, I kind of heard a little commotion like someone may have been arguing, and then about five or six shots lit off.,” she said. “And, I mean it was loud. And it was so close our apartment that I can see the fire from the gun like backfire off of my window. It reflected off of my wall.”

Pope said her family hit the deck, and she saw a silver car speed off.

“I have a 3-year-old and an 11-year-old. So, you can imagine how terrified they were,” she told FOX10 News. “And it was like so hard for us to go to sleep at night. We didn’t go to sleep until almost 2 in the morning because every little noise we heard, and police just kept riding through all night. So it was just alarming and terrifying.”

In November 2017, Murphy was on the job when he pulled over a car driven by Lawrence Hawkins on First Avenue in Prichard. An altercation resulted in Hawkins’ fatal shooting. An investigation ended without charges against Murphy.

Pope said she had a run-in with Murphy several months ago after her car got towed. She said she went to the office to complain, and the manager called Murphy, who was working security.

“He just was very confrontational,” she said.

Pope said the timing couldn’t be worse.

“It’s sad for the family, because it’s the holidays,” she said. “And people already went through so much this year. People don’t deserve to have to live like that, and we shouldn’t have to live in fear of where we stay.”

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