People in Madison County are remembering the Lowndes County Sheriff, John WIlliams, shot and killed over the weekend. Although he lived more than 200 miles away in south Alabama, he made a lasting impact on many in North Alabama.
William Johnson, the 18-year-old accused of shooting and killing Sheriff John Williams, was in court Monday and as is being held without bond.
Law enforcement officers throughout North Alabama are draping their badges yet again this year for an officer shot and killed in the line of duty.
"Oh, my God. It can't be true," said retired deputy Michael Salomonsky.
Salomonsky, the recently retired captain of investigations for the Madison County Sheriff's Office, said that is what he was thinking when he heard Wlliams was shot and killed Saturday night.
He spent more than 5 years as the sheriff's office liaison with the Alabama Sheriff's Association and met the sheriff known as "Big John" by many during his first year.
“You would have never known I was the new kid on the block. You would have not known that from the way he welcomed me," he said.
Salomonsky said he thinks of "Big John" as a gentle giant.
"I think the aspect of him that I loved the most was that he has a simple kindness for people that he really didn’t know," he said.
With William's death being the 5th officer killed in the line of duty this year in Alabama, he hopes people realize the risk all law enforcement take every day answering calls.
"Basically as a law enforcement officer they live their life going from one place to another answering calls, taking a proactive stance against crime and they never know what’s going to happen to them from one minute to the next," he said.
Salomonsky said Williams was a terrific law enforcement officer and he will always remember him for the way he treated others.
"I want to thank him and his family for all the kindness they have shown not only to me, but I’m sure if you were in his home county that you would find just thousands and thousands of people as well as stories where acts of his individual kindness are not surmountable by anything he ever could have done in law enforcement," he said.
The funeral for Williams will be held Monday at Garrett Coliseum on Coliseum Boulevard in Montgomery. Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. with the service at 11 a.m.