Slain deputy loved to make children smile

Published 5:28 pm Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Lincoln County sheriff’s deputy killed in the line of duty overnight Sunday was described as a “mild-mannered officer” who loved making people smile in a 2014 story in The Daily Leader.

William Durr, 36, said he loved making children smile with puppets in an interview with a Daily Leader reporter.

He was a Brookhaven police officer before joining the sheriff’s office. He was a two year veteran of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and a four year veteran of the Brookhaven Police Department.

Durr worked with youth groups for many years. Before he became a police officer he was a mental health technician. Durr has served as youth minister for several churches.

He did puppet shows for children’s church and other events. He had an interest in ventriloquism since he was a boy.

“When I was eight years old I had a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist puppet,” he said in 2014.

“I loved doing that and practiced with it a lot.”

“I have done a 50-year class reunion,” he said, “but, mostly I do children’s churches, elementary schools, day cares, had a part in Brookhaven Children’s Summer Camp, birthdays… things like that.”

He performed at Brookhaven Academy earlier this month.

Sheriff Steve Rushing said Durr was responding to a call in Bogue Chitto when he was killed. Seven other people were killed at three separate crime scenes. The suspect, Willie Cory Godbolt of Bogue Chitto, was captured Sunday morning.

Durr is the first Lincoln County officer killed in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.