Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey asked that flags be flown at half-staff Monday to mourn the loss of Auburn Police Department Officer William Buechner, who was killed in the line of duty.
Two other officers were wounded in an incident late Sunday night.
“Just last week, in Alabama and across the country, we honored the sacrifice of the men and women in law enforcement during National Peace Officers Memorial Week,” Ivey said. “As we began this week, our state was met with the tragic news that shots were fired on three of our police officers, which took the life of Officer William Buechner and wounded two other officers.”
“Far too often, we are reminded of the grave sacrifice the men and women in law enforcement make each day and night they go to work,” Ivey said. “Sadly, this year in our state, three men did not have the chance to return home to their families and friends — all because they risked their lives to protect our communities.”
“The city of Auburn is somewhere I was able to call home for four important years of my life, and it will always have a very special place in my heart,” Ivey continued. “I know that many others in Alabama and across the country are mourning this loss alongside Officer Buechner’s family and Auburn residents.”
“I commend the members of state and local law enforcement who bravely pursued and successfully captured the shooter to ensure the safety of the many students and families in the Auburn area,” Ivey said. “We offer our support and prayers to the two officers recovering from their injuries and send prayers of comfort to the Buechner family. The ultimate sacrifice of Officer Buechner will never be forgotten.”
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes has announced he will prosecute 29-year-old Grady Wayne Wilkes for capital murder and will seek the death penalty.
“If you shoot a police officer, we’re going to pursue the death penalty,” Hughes said.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall offered his condolences to Buechner’s family and announced his support for Hughes’s decision to seek the death penalty.
“I commend all of the law enforcement — local, state and federal — involved in capturing and arresting Grady Wayne Wilkes and concur with District Attorney Brandon Hughes on prosecuting him: ‘If you shoot a police officer, we’re going to pursue the death penalty.’” Marshall said on social media.
Wilkes will be charged with capital murder and attempted murder. Police said he was arrested without incident around 7:30 a.m. on Monday.
Buechner is the third law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty thus far this year.
The governor has issued a statewide directive to fly flags at half-staff to honor Buechner. Flags should remain lowered until sunset on Saturday, May 25, 2019.