The overwhelming support for this fallen officer and his family might have you reaching for the tissues…

OPELIKA, Ala. – An Alabama town is mourning the loss of one of their greatest protectors. On Sunday night, Officer William Buechner was shot and killed in Auburn when responding to a domestic violence call.

But now, in honor of his memory, his neighbors decided to show the rest of the country what it means to back the blue. 


By lighting their entire neighborhood with blue lights.

Blue lights shine in support of Alabama’s fallen officer. (Photo – Samantha Xaysombath Smith)

Porch lights. Driveway lights. Spotlights. All blue, paying tribute to an incredible man.

“William was a lot of great things. A great man, friend, husband, and father, police officer, neighbor, the list goes on,” neighbor Samantha Xaysombath Smith explained. “His son will grow up to learn that his daddy was a hero, and we will forever remember that he was our hero too.”

One neighbor said that at least 15 homes had participated on the tribute, with more anticipated to join in.

“We all have rallied to find each other more lightbulbs,” a neighbor said, “and contact those who have been out of town or may need assistance reaching their fixtures. It’s been a true team effort.”

This Alabama neighborhood is showing that they truly back the blue. (Photo – Tracy McDaniel)


The lights are going to stay on, at least until Buechner’s funeral this weekend. And perhaps even longer.

“This village we speak of, he knows we will take care of Sara and the family,” Smith said. “After all, it does take a village. We back the blue.”

Buechner was killed when responding to a call at a mobile home park, about five miles west of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.


When the officers arrived, a suspect opened fire, fatally wounding Buechner.

Officers Sistruck and Elliott were also wounded.  According to police, Elliott was treated and released from a hospital and Sistruck was listed in “satisfactory” condition at Piedmont Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia.

Officer William Buechner. (Auburn PD)


A massive manhunt was launched by state and federal law enforcement agencies, and thanks to tips in the community, the suspect was captured at 7:12 a.m. on Monday.

Police said 29-year-old Grady Wayne Wilkes was arrested and is being charged with capital murder.  If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

In addition to the capital murder charge, he’s also facing three counts of attempted murder and a charge of domestic violence in the second degree.