Suspect arrested after 3 Alabama officers shot, 1 killed

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Calling it a very difficult time for their police department and the entire community, officials in Auburn, Alabama announced details Monday of the arrest of a shooting suspect accused of killing one police officer and wounded two officers.

The shooting happened late Sunday night as Auburn police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call in a mobile home community off of Wire Road.

Police say the suspect opened fire on the officers, killing Officer William Buechner and wounding Officer Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott.

The shooting sparked an all-night manhunt, leading to the arrest of 29-year-old Grady Wayne Wilkes by local, state and federal authorities Monday morning.

“It is a great responsibility to tell you what a sad day this is for our community," Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said at an afternoon press conference. "On behalf of our elected officials and the entire community, we’re very sorry that we have lost an officer in the line of duty.”

Police Chief Paul Register said Buechner’s death is the first one for his department in his 31 years on Auburn’s police force.

Register described Buechner, who had been with the department since April 2006, as “a very fine, veteran officer.”

“If you do a job for 13 years, I think that in itself says a lot about the dedication of that officers. Definitely well-liked by his peers, respected. I think it’s just typical of what we have here,” Register said.


Medics rushed Officer Sistrunk, who has been with the department since April 2011, to Columbus Medical Center in Columbus, Georgia, where he’s in serious condition.

Elliott, who has been an Auburn police officer since July 2018, was treated and released from East Alabama Medical Center.

Wilkes faces one count of capital murder, three counts of attempted murder, and one count of domestic violence.

According to Register, the woman who called police about the domestic situation was not injured.

Register called the arrest uneventful, and says Wilkes will be taken to the Lee County Jail at some point.

He said the suspect had a military background but was not someone law enforcement authorities were familiar with.

Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against Wilkes.

“If you shoot a police officer, we will pursue the death penalty, absolutely,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes told reporters.

Now, a city mourns the loss of one of their officers.

“As you can image, it will be very difficult for our entire community," Register said. "This is not the kind of thing we’re sued to have happening here. But we mainly intend to rally around each other and the families and just get to this together and get back out there and do the job.”