Sheriff, U.S. Marine murdered when responding to a call at a gas station – here’s what we know


Haynesville, AL – Breaking news out of Alabama, where we’ve just learned that Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams has been killed.

Details are just starting to come in, but we know he was murdered Saturday night when responding to a call for service at a gas station.  It happened around 8:15 p.m. local time.

Police have not yet released any information about the suspects, but we do know there’s a large scale response from multiple law enforcement agencies, including the State Bureau of Investigations.

“I’m saddened to hear about Sheriff Big John Williams, who was tragically killed this evening in the line of duty.  Through his service to our country in the United States Marine Corps and his many years working in law enforcement, he dedicated his life to keeping other people safe,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a release Saturday night.

She said he will not be forgotten.

“He will be remembered as a consummate professional and pillar of his community. I offer my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and to the men and women of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.”

We have been informed by several sources that there is an active search underway for the suspect.

Local media outlets report that Williams was born and raised in Lowndes County. 

He graduated from Calhoun High School in 1976, and was known as “Big John” because of his height.

According to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office website, he:

“Always wanted to make a difference in his community and felt there was no better way to help his community than to protect and serve them in law enforcement.”

He started volunteering as a reserve deputy in 1978.  For three years in the 1980s he was in the Hayneville Police Department.  Then he took a position full-time with the sheriff’s office. 

In 1990, he was appointed to chief deputy and served in this capacity until leaving the department in 2009… then ran for sheriff in 2010.  He’s served in that role since he won.

In the meantime, police in Georgia have made a second arrest in connection with the fatal shooting of Richmond County Sheriff’s Investigator Cecil Ridley.

Ridley was tragically gunned down by an armed suspect on Tuesday, November 19 while on patrol for  “gun violence”.

Richmond County authorities reported that 18-year-old Deonquez Reid was taken into custody on Friday for his alleged role in the death of the law enforcement official. 

Officer Down: Veteran detective killed while working "gun violence" patrol
Officer Down: Veteran detective killed while working “gun violence” patrol


Reports said that officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation made the arrest at the Augusta Mart located at 1713 MLK Jr. Blvd, according to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Investigator Ridley was shot and killed at 12th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in Augusta, according to sheriff’s office Sgt. William McCarty.


He was working a beat that was part of a new “proactive patrol to curb gun violence” said McCarty.  That initiative had just started last week.


McCarty confirmed that during Ridley’s patrol, he encountered the suspect inside of a store when the man allegedly turned and drew a weapon, firing multiple times at Ridley.

Ridley was killed by the hail of gunfire, and police say that another officer inside the building was able to return fire. The suspect managed to escape from the store and head outside. But the GBI says that when he got outside, he was met by two additional uniformed officers.

He pulled his gun and pointed them at the officers, but they managed to fire first and put him down.

The suspect, identified as 24-year-old Alvin Theodore Hester Jr., was struck at least once by police fire.  He was rushed to Augusta University Medical Center.

Police say that his condition has improved and he now faces charges of murder, aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.


The GBI says that Reid, while not directly responsible for the veteran officer’s death, has been arrested and charged with tampering with evidence for his alleged role in the incident. 

He was taken into custody and booked into the Richmond County Jail.

So far in 2019, Georgia has lost seven officers.

Ridley’s death marks the the 108th officer killed in the line of duty this year.

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Sheriff, U.S. Marine murdered when responding to a call at a gas station - here's what we know


He was only 51-years-old and lived in Augusta.  According to the department, he received an award in 2018 for five years of service.

But according to a presidential candidate, violence against police isn’t the problem — police committing violence is. 

Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro took aim again at members of law enforcement this week.

Castro penned in an op-ed he wrote for Shondaland, that his plan is to reform law enforcement as a whole.  

He claims that police violence and gun violence should be looked at as the same issue. The need for this op-ed resulted in the fact that Castro did not qualify to participate in a fifth democratic presidential debate that took place Wednesday night.

Castro felt that if candidates would be talking about any type of police reform on the stage during the debate, it was only because he brought the idea up first.

In an interview Castro gave on Tuesday evening to political commentator Angela Rye he stated:

“If they talk about police reform, it’s because we brought it up first. … If they talk about communities that need things as basic as clean water, it may be because I went to Flint first in this 2020 cycle,” he said.

While Castro might feel like he brought the topic of law enforcement into the spotlight on the democratic political debate stage by releasing his comprehensive “People First Policing” plan in June of 2019,  he’s certainly not the only one who expressed their onions on the topic.  More on that later .

In his op-ed Castro wrote:

“I’m the only candidate with a stand-alone plan to reform policing and why I don’t hesitate to say the names of victims,” Castro explained.

“Police violence is gun violence too, and we must speak out for Black and Brown people who often don’t have an effective first chance at life.”

Castro used a question about criminals to throw police under the bus. (Screenshot – CNN)


He didn’t really give any details of what makes “police violence” a form of “gun violence” however.

He also went on to write

“I put forward an immigration platform that completely rejects Trump’s cruelty and set the standard for the entire field of candidates. I visited Matamoros, México, where asylum seekers are living in squalor due to this administration’s failure to fix our broken immigration system.”

It appears perhaps that Castro might have just needed to add several ‘trigger words’ into one op-ed to show how ‘woke’ he really is? 

A desperate attempt maybe to be include in further debates? Although, even if he is not doing well in the polls, he has no intention of stopping it seems.

“In the community I’m from, quitting is not an option,” he wrote in his op-ed the day after his interview. Many would argue though he probably should just quit while he isn’t really ahead. 

Sources released that Castro’s campaign recently laid off staff in South Carolina as well as New Hampshire. This would indicate that while publicly he may be saying he’s holding on for the long haul, he’s seen the writing on the wall.  Probably not though, as he closed his piece with this statement:

“I’m running for president so that no matter who you are, you can reach your American Dream. And I will not stop fighting for that future.”

Here are some direct excerpts from Castro’s “People First Policing” Plan from his campaign website;

  • On the day Julián announced his candidacy for President of the United States, he talked about health care and education, economic prosperity and immigration. And he also talked about the frightening rate at which unarmed black and brown folks have been killed by law enforcement officers all over America.
  • “If police in Charleston, South Carolina can arrest Dylann Roof after he murdered nine people worshipping at Bible study, without hurting him,” he said in January, “then don’t tell me that Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, and Aiyana Jones, and Eric Garner, and Jason Pero, and Stephon Clark, and Sandra Bland shouldn’t still be alive today, too.”
  • In the United States, according to a Washington Post analysis, nearly one thousand people are shot and killed by police each year. When you break down that number, you see clearly that black men make up a disproportionate number of the victims of excessive police force. This is not a case of a few bad apples. The system is broken.
  • We have on our hands a national crisis in public safety. If elected president, Julián Castro would treat this as the crisis it is, demanding of a federal response. This is Julián’s plan to fix this broken system:
  1. End over-aggressive policing and combat racially discriminatory policing.
  2. Hold police accountable.
  3. Start the healing process between communities and law enforcement.



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