kali9/iStock(AUBURN, Ala.) — A former military man is in custody for allegedly gunning down an Auburn, Alabama, police officer and wounding two other officers, authorities said.
Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, was arrested Monday morning after an overnight manhunt, said Auburn Police Chief Paul Register.
Wilkes allegedly fired at three officers when they responded to a “domestic disturbance” at the Arrowhead mobile home park Sunday night.
The shooting killed officer William Buechner who had been with the department for 13 years, said Register.
The two injured officers — Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott — are expected to recover, Register said.
The chief said this is the first time an Auburn officer has been killed during his 31 years at the department.
“This is probably the worst day of my time here. Words cannot express the loss,” the chief said. “We’re just trying to be there with our officers and those families right now.”
Wilkes is charged with capital murder, three counts of attempted murder and second-degree domestic violence, authorities said. Prosecutors said they plan to pursue the death penalty.
Wilkes, who had been in the military for a number of years, had no run-ins with local police until the Sunday night shooting, said Register. The chief did not elaborate on Wilkes’ military service.
Forty-three officers have died in the line of duty this year, down 34% from the same time period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.
“Three courageous young men … went to protect us,” Auburn Mayor Ron Anders said at a news conference. “We’re very sorry that we have lost an officer in the line of duty. To his family, we are here with you. We will not leave you and we will stand beside you to help you get through this.”
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