Police have identified the officer killed in an Alabama shooting late Sunday night. And prosecutors are now calling for the death penalty for the man who they say murdered him.
Auburn Police Officer William Buechner was killed in the shooting on Sunday night. According to Auburn Police Chief Paul Register, it started when Buechner and Officers Webb Sistruck and Evan Elliott responded to a call about domestic violence.
The call was 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.
Sistruck and Elliott were also wounded. According to police, Elliott was treated and released from a hospital and Sistruck is listed in “satisfactory” condition at Piedmont Regional Hospital in Columbus, Georgia.
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.
“You shoot a police officer, we’re going to pursue the death penalty,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said at a news conference Monday. “Absolutely.”
Wilkes was arrested about a mile from where the incident took place and is now being held in the Lee County jail.
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.
According to Hughes, the suspect isn’t entitled to a bond because of the capital murder charge and “we don’t anticipate him having a bond.”
According to Hughes, Wilkes will sit before a judge soon and will have an opportunity to request a preliminary hearing.
Register said that he didn’t have much information about the suspect, but said he “is someone we were not familiar with before this incident” and said Wilkes “was in the military for a number of years.”
He could not, however, confirm which branch or for how long.
“We are thankful, at least, that the person that initially contacted us and these officers went to help was not injured and was able to escape the situation,” Register said.
The police chief attributed the arrest to a combination of citizens reporting suspicious activity and law enforcement doing their job, calling the arrest “relatively uneventful.”
“He was cooperative in conversations with law enforcement,” Register said.
Register said he doesn’t recall another police killing in his community during his stint there over the last three decades. He praised the three officers for exuding competence and dedication, and called Buechner a “very fine” officer.
“All fine young men,” he said.
He asked for support for their loved ones.
“Please keep those families in your thoughts. They are dealing with the unthinkable at this time,” he told reporters. It’s a difficult time for our entire community.”
The shooting happened only a few miles from a similar massive response in February on Wire Road. That was where an Auburn police officer was shot during a traffic stop of a robbery suspect and the suspects later were found in an apartment complex.
In that incident, officers from multiple agencies, including a special task force, engaged that night in heavy gunfire at Crossland Downs apartment complex on Stonegate Drive, off Wire Road.
When that shooting happened, emergency responders quickly evacuating residents there and warning others nearby and across from the Auburn University vet school to shelter-in-place.
The officer injured in that shooting survived and is recovering, but the two were killed in a shootout and subsequent fire in the apartment where they sought refuge.
At about 1 a.m. Monday, Auburn University issued a text and 911 phone alert:
“Massive police presence near Arrowhead Mobile Home Park off of Wire Rd, approx 5 miles west of Vet School. Avoid area until further notice.”
The attack followed a deadly weekend for law enforcement in America, just as National Police Week was coming to a conclusion.
Police Officer Claudia Cormier from San Marcos, Texas is fighting for her life today.
This after she suffered severe injuries Saturday night after being hit by a suspected drunk diver while responding to an incident on Interstate Highway 35 in San Marcos, Texas.
At 9:39 p.m., police received a call about hazardous items on the northbound roadway just north of the McCarty Overpass near the 202 mile marker. Officer Cormier, a three-year police officer, arrived minutes later.
Shortly after she arrived, 911 calls came in that she had been hit by another driver in the same area. When officers arrived, they found her with severe, life-threatening injuries.
She was rushed to Seton-Hays in Kyle, where she underwent emergency surgery. According to police, she’s still sedated and will need more surgeries.
Police arrested the driver of the 2000 Ford Expedition that they say hit her. He was identified as Neil Sheehan, 58, of Flower Mound, Texas.
Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers assisted the San Marcos Police Department in their investigation. Troopers said they arrested Sheehan for intoxication assault on a public servant, a second-degree felony, and failure to slow causing serious bodily injury.
Police secured a warrant for his blood, the results of which are pending. He was booked in the Hays County Jail.
According to public records, his bond was set at $2,000 for the failure to slow charge and $75,000 for intoxication assault.
Police are asking for prayers.
“The San Marcos Police Department appreciates all concerns and well-wishes and asks for prayers for Officer Cormier’s recovery and for her family in their time of need,” police said.
In the meantime, the family of a Pennsylvania State Trooper is in mourning today after died on the job on Saturday afternoon.
It happened in Bucks County at about 11:30 a.m.. Trooper Donald Brackett was found outside of his squad car on I-276 westbound in Bucks County.
He was found by Troopers from Trevose and King of Prussia after Brackett did not respond to radio transmissions, officials said.
Police say it appears he suffered some kind of a medical episode.
“All personnel of the Pennsylvania State Police are deeply affected by this loss,” Lieutenant Colonel Evanchick said . “Our thoughts are with Trooper Brackett’s family and friends as they mourn his sudden passing.”
Brackett, a United States Marine Corps veteran, worked out of the King of Prussia barracks, where he had been a trooper since October of 2001.
He was only 58 years old. His End of Watch was 5/18/19.