MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey is reacting to news of the fatal shooting of a police officer, an incident that also left two fellow officers wounded in the east Alabama city of Auburn.
She has ordered flags around the state be flown at half-staff as a sign of respect for William Buechner, the Auburn police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
Buechner, as well as officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott, were responding to a domestic violence call late Sunday night when they were fired upon. The suspect, 29-year-old Grady Wayne Wilkes, was arrested after a manhunt.
“Officer Buechner laid down his life protecting the people of Auburn,” said Ivey, “and the entire state of Alabama mourns this tremendous loss.”
Ivey noted the timing of the violence. “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. "
“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 added. “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 other two officers Ivey was referring to are Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, 44, and Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder, 30, both killed in January.
Ivey noted the special place Auburn holds in her heart. “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," she explained. 'I know that many others in Alabama and across the country are mourning this loss alongside Officer Buechner’s family and Auburn residents."
The governor added her support for the families of the victims.
"I commend the members of state and local law enforcement who bravely pursued and captured the shooter to ensure the safety of the many students and families in the Auburn area. 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.”
Flags will remain lowered until sunset on Saturday, May 25.