CRESTWOOD, Mo. — In a neighborhood outside St. Louis, among the red brick ranch-style houses and well-manicured lawns and American flags flying, a house is being watched.
There are dark blue undercover police cars parked outside the house of Darren Wilson, 28, the police officer identified Friday as the man who shot and killed Michael Brown. And at the rear of Wilson’s house, there is also a marked police car sitting in the parking lot of the church.
A neighbor said that police have been here a couple days watching Wilson’s house on Manda Lane in Crestwood, a mostly white city of 11,000 people about 18 miles southwest of mostly black Ferguson.
The officer, who has been placed on administrative leave, left the neighborhood a few days ago.
The neighbor said the family got “spooked and took off pretty quickly before the name was announced.”
According to public records, Wilson, 28, was an honor roll student at St. Charles High School near Ferguson in 9th and 10th grade. His mother died when he was 16.
On Friday afternoon, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson described Wilson as “a gentle, quiet man” and “a distinguished officer.”
Joe Adlon, 49, who has lived here 40 years, said he knew Wilson. Adlon said he’s “sure” that Wilson didn’t mean to do it.
“Cops go through a lot,” said Adlon, who was watering his grass. “It’s hard to say what was going through this mind.”
Martha Arnoldy, 60, wife of the Crestwood police chief, who lives on the same street as Wilson, said there is an increased police presence in the neighborhood.
“It’s just a concern the thugs that did that stuff in Ferguson will show up here,” Arnoldy said. “Ferguson was a thriving community that had rebuilt itself. There’s a farmers market there on weekends. For this image to be out that Ferguson is a powder keg is not good.”
Arnoldy said that Wilson and his family “are in a safe place.”
No one answers at the door of Wilson’s house. A welcome sign hangs on the door. Behind the house, near the basketball court and swimming pool, there is still laundry hanging on the line.