Cypress Inn, TN, Shoals community remembering victims killed in last week’s officer-involved shooting

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 11:07 PM CDT
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THE SHOALS, Ala. (WAFF) - Just northwest of Florence is a small tucked away town named Cypress Inn, Tennessee.

This is where William Mealback lived. He was the victim that was allegedly shot and thrown out of the car by Brian Lansing Martin on Friday.

Community members said he frequented the corner store and post office. He was likable and always had his cane. Some even said that he referred to Martin as his son.

At some point, Martin lived with Mealback and a woman at a home on Craig Road. Chillingly, A flag that honors police officers hangs from their front porch.

Neighbors said they barely knew him.

While that community is remembering Mealback, community members in the Shoals are continuing to raise funds for Sgt. Risner’s family and the Sheffield Police department.

Vertillo Pizza has been taking donations since Friday. They are doing a raffle for a giveaway with Alabama Superpawn.

So far they’ve raised nearly $4300 for Sgt. Risner’s family.

“It shows what an impact that he had on everybody regardless if they had an immediate encounter with him,” said manager Patty Woodruff.

Other people across the Shoals are making t-shirts and wristbands to raise money as well. Ginger Thompson has sold more than 200 shirts since Sunday.

Erin Willingham has raised $1300 so far by selling these wristbands. Those proceeds will go straight to Sheffield Police Department.

Savannah Terry has also sold at least 90 shirts in honor of Sgt. Risner.

Russellville City Schools and Police Department are partnering together to raise funds for Sgt. Risner’s family and a Franklin County Sheriff who unexpectedly lost his wife over the weekend.

The Shoals community standing strong together for those who left light wherever they went.

“He went over and beyond to show that he cared,” said Woodruff.

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