Community mourns after retired Millington officer, veteran dies in motorcycle crash

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Community members are mourning the loss of a Millington man who dedicated his life to serving the city, county and country.

William Merchant served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a Millington Police officer and Shelby County Sheriff's deputy.

"It was a shock. I think that's the biggest thing. We said to ourselves that we're going to go down here, and it's going to be alright," family member Brittany Kiestler said.

Merchant's loved ones couldn't believe the new that he'd been killed in a motorcycle crash.

The 67-year-old dedicated his life to his wife, family and serving others.

"He'd take a bullet for anyone. It didn't matter who you were. You could be a complete stranger," grandson Camryn Ellison said.

Merchant served in the U.S. Navy for 25 years before joining the Millington Police Department for 20 years.

"I can remember every single time he came home, he was always ready to go right back in," Ellison said.

Even after retiring from the department last year, his family said it didn't last long as he soon worked part-time for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

"He took up so many roles in Millington. He's worn every kind of uniform you can think of, and everybody has so much respect for him," Kiestler said.

Investigators say the crash happened around 12:30 Sunday afternoon on Cuba Millington Road, west of Highway 51.

Witnesses say he was riding down the road when a driver was coming out of an exit and hit him.

Family members say it was heartbreaking to look at the after-marks Monday, but they do find comfort in one thing.

"At least we know where he's at. God is taking care of him," Kiestler said.

The investigation into what caused the crash is still ongoing and charges are pending.