Ten years ago, something changed in Cody Darby, his father said. That's when Darby's brother, in a wheelchair because of cerebral palsy, died of his illness. Darby was never the same.
"The thing last night, I think it was his way out," Marc Darby said of his son. "He was hurting."
Cody Darby, 20, was fatally shot outside his home Monday night by Hillsborough sheriff's deputies after threatening to "kill the cops" and brandishing a sawed-off shotgun, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.
It happened about 9 p.m. when deputies responded to a 911 call about a man with a gun at Darby's address, 1602 Maydell Drive in Palm River. Sheriff David Gee told reporters Darby ignored the deputies' orders to put down his weapon. Officials said he pointed the gun at the deputies, and they fired. No one else was hurt.
Marc Darby, who lives with his wife and two other sons in Colorado, said in a telephone interview that Cody Darby had been troubled for a decade.
"He was a very good kid, a loving kid, always very giving, and when his brother died, something changed, you know?" Marc Darby said.
Marc Darby Jr. died in 1998 when he was 12 and Cody was 10.
The father said Cody Darby turned to drugs and alcohol as a teen. He had trouble with the law and dropped out of high school. In 2007, he was arrested twice and charged with possession of marijuana, according tothe Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
But the father said Darby's troublemaking days seemed to be over. He had a good job at a shipyard and was making plans to get his GED, Marc Darby said.
"He was getting back on track," he said between sobs. "I guess, being on his own, it was too much for him."
When the Darby family moved to Colorado about a year ago, Cody Darby stayed behind. The father said Cody Darby loved Florida, and he moved next door to his grandfather.
The son would call his parents complaining about his job, but Marc Darby said he never gave an indication he would turn violent.
"He'd get off and call us once in a while and vent," Marc Darby said. "But it's a shock."
The deputies involved were James McDaniel, 32, who has six years with the Sheriff's Office; Jason Morton, 37, who has worked there four years; and Steven Reinsch, 36, a 10-year veteran.
Their records list only a few minor disciplinary incidents: Reinsch was twice suspended for damage to his vehicle and once for failing to respond to a subpoena. McDaniel twice failed to respond to a subpoena.
All three have been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3386. Times staff writers Elisabeth Dyer, Rebecca Catalanello and Luis Perez and Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.