Madison Co. law enforcement honors Auburn officer killed in line of duty

Officer William Buechner was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Posted: May 20, 2019 5:58 PM
Updated: May 20, 2019 6:04 PM

Police across North Alabama are honoring three officers who were ambushed in Auburn. One died and two others were wounded.

Officer William Buechner, a 13-year veteran of the force, was shot and killed during a domestic violence call. His fellow officers will survive.

Law enforcement officials across Madison County have draped their badges to honor Officer Buechner. He's the third officer in Alabama to be killed in the line of duty this year, and police said each time is difficult.

"We said at the memorial, 'We hope we never have to add anyone to the walls again,' but within a week of that recognition, it happens again," said Lieutenant Donny Shaw, the president of the Madison County Fraternal Order of Police.

Lieutenant Donny Shaw said Officer William Buechner's death will be felt across the country.

"I think it brings to all of the attention of all of Alabama and surrounding states that this incident occurred, and they will take an extra minute to tell their loved ones they love them and give them a bigger hug," Shaw said.

It started as a domestic violence call Sunday night at a trailer home in Auburn. Police say the suspect wore body armor and a helmet and started firing at officers. Lieutenant Shaw said it reminds them of how careful they always need to be.

"We have to be aware of situations in our jobs every time we go on a dispatch call, no matter how simple a call is. It could be to go check the welfare of someone's mental being. It could be for a domestic dispute. It could be for a loud noise call," he said.

Police arrested Grady Wilkes nearly 10 hours after the shooting, after issuing a statewide Blue Alert. That's a notification to warn the public that someone has seriously injured or killed a law enforcement officer, and is still on the loose. Shaw said that alert may have led to the suspect's arrest and saved lives.

"You put this information out about a dangerous person who is not only a potential risk for law enforcement but also citizens out there, and it gives them the information to also be aware of situations when we are looking for this person," Shaw said.

On Monday, the Madison County Sheriff's office, Huntsville police and Madison police all said they plan to send honor guard officers to Officer Buechner's funeral. The plans for the funeral have not been announced yet.

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