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Family remembers victims of Billings South Side shooting

Apparent murder suicide
Shooting
Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 20, 2022

BILLINGS - Family members are remembering the victims of an apparent murder-suicide discovered Wednesday night on Billings South Side.

Police say they suspect a man, identified by relatives as William Darling, shot and killed his wife, Melissa Darling, and their son, 11-year-old William Darling Jr.

Melissa's father, Russel Gause, and his family say they are now living their worst nightmare.

"They were the most precious kids I know, and they didn't have to go this way," Gause said. "We're supposed to die before our kids. It's a tragedy that they're both gone now. I'd do anything to change it."

The Yellowstone County Coroner's Office later identified the man as William Darling Jr. and his son as William Darling III.

The family said they knew there were issues in the Darlings' home and that William Darling was struggling, but they didn't imagine it would get this bad.

“We still loved him no matter what," Gause said. "He hasn’t been working for the last 10 years so everything just gathered on him."

Melissa's older sister, April Peterson, also said she knew the couple was dealing with some issues.

"She mentioned to her two days ago that she was talking about leaving him, so I'm wondering if she brought it up and this is how it escalated," Peterson said.

April said that she and her sister had grown apart, but that her love for her was still unconditional.

“I still love her, would do anything for her. I am just going to remember all of the fun times we had," Peterson said.

Southside Shooting

William Darling, Jr. was a sixth grader at Riverside Middle School in Billings. His grandfather said he was loved by all of his classmates and teachers.

"He was my buddy," said Grause. "I just wished it didn't happen to them."

It's a tragedy that has left this Billings family broken and clinging to the memory of their loved ones.

"It's still a nightmare," Peterson said. "I'm going to miss her. I wish I could talk to her one more time."

Correction (Oct. 21): A previous version of this story misstated where William Darling, Jr., went to school and his grade level. This version is correct.)