Suspect Arrested in Murder of Lowndes County, Alabama Sheriff

Sheriff John Williams

Courtesy Lowndes County Sherriff’s Department

The Lowndes County, Alabama Sheriff responded to a call from a local gas station owner last night. A crowd had gathered there and the owner wanted them to leave. That’s where Sheriff John Williams was shot to death, allegedly by William Chase Johnson.

Johnson returned to the scene of the shooting hours later to turn himself in.

As al.com reports . . .

Johnson is from Montgomery and the son of a law enforcement officer. He was arrested in August on a charge of being in possession of brass knuckles and being a minor in possession of alcohol, but those charges were later dismissed, according to court records.

Sheriff Williams becomes the fifth Alabama law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty this year.

From the Associated Press . . .

An Alabama sheriff was fatally shot Saturday evening in a community near the state’s capital, authorities announced, and an 18-year-old suspect was taken into custody after an hours long manhunt.

Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted that Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams had been “tragically killed” in the line of duty and that she offered her prayers and sympathy to his family and the county sheriff’s department.

The suspect in custody was as 18-year-old William Chase Johnson. Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham initially told news outlets that Williams was shot at a gas station.

William Chase Johnson

Courtesy Alabama Law Enforcement Agency

The state had issued an emergency alert saying it was seeking an 18-year-old white man last seen at a QV gas station at 8:15 p.m., in the area and around the time of the reported shooting. Sgt. Steve Jarrett, the commander of state troopers’ Montgomery post, later confirmed to reporters that the shooting took place at the QV station, and that Johnson was the only suspect at the time. He was considered a “serious risk” who may have been traveling on foot, according to the alert.

Jarrett confirmed to news outlets that Johnson approached the shooting scene just after midnight, and had a handgun with him. The state law enforcement agency canceled the emergency alert early Sunday, saying Johnson was in custody.

“Details as to how he fled the scene and then reappeared at the scene, all that’s going to be investigated,” Jarrett said, according to WSFA-TV. The gas station is located in the Lowndes County seat of Hayneville, around 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Montgomery.

The tall sheriff was known as “Big John.” Ivey paid tribute to him online, writing that in his years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and “his many years working in law enforcement, he dedicated his life to keeping other people safe.”

The sheriff was first elected in 2010, running as a Democrat. He was a Lowndes County native who started volunteering as a reserve deputy in 1978. He also worked for Hayneville police before joining the sheriff’s department full-time in 1987 and being appointed chief deputy in 1990.

“Sheriff Williams always wanted to make a difference in his community and felt there was no better way to help his community than to protect and serve them in law enforcement,” the biography read.

Lowndes County is predominantly black. It had a population of around 11,000 in the 2010 census. In 2007, more than 60 people gathered at the county courthouse to protest then-Gov. Bob Riley’s appointment of a white law enforcement officer to replace the county’s deceased sheriff. At the time, the county commission president said all five commissioners and other elected officials had recommended Williams, who is black, for the position.

During his decades long career with the sheriff’s office, Williams notably in 2000 was the arresting officer of Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, a 1960s black militant who was known as H. Rap Brown before converting to Islam. Al-Amin was wanted and later convicted in the fatal 2000 shooting of a Fulton County sheriff’s deputy in Atlanta.

Williams is the fifth Alabama law enforcement officer to die from gunfire in the line of duty, and the sixth overall, in 2019, according to a statement from state Attorney General Steve Marshall.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    He died serving his community. Respect.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Indeed. His killer is gonna have an interesting time in prison.

      On one hand, prisoners love guys who kill cops, and on the other, a white guy killed a Black guy. And Alabama prisons are a majority Black population…

  2. avatar FedUp says:

    Murder isn’t tragic.
    Atrocious might be a better word.
    Or evil.
    Or despicable/deplorable.

  3. avatar Someone says:

    If TTAG starts posting about every case of cop shot, it will become pretty busy place.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Or how about every citizen shot by a cop? Dogs? Negligent discharge?

    2. avatar FedUp says:

      Yeah, an extra 1-2 articles a week might overload the servers…

  4. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    A senseless murder committed by an idiot .

  5. avatar Will Drider says:

    Another LEO murdered, a sad and all too common event. RIP Sheriff, you have served well.
    Suspect it 18YO son of a LE officer, wonder where he got the gun?

    1. avatar Richard says:

      How come his charges were dropped the first time? Maybe because of being the son of a LEO?

      1. avatar American Patriot says:

        No maybe about it!!!

      2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        A good lawyer can get charges like those dropped…

  6. avatar Red in CO says:

    Top cop ran as a Democrat, and therefore a gun grabber. No sympathy here

    1. avatar JR Pollock says:

      Considering the fact that Lowndes County is 72.5% black, it’s probably the only way he could get elected. Former Milwaukee County, WI Sheriff David Clarke was about as conservative as they come, but always ran as a democrat, due to the “demographics”.

      John Bel Edwards was just re-elected Governor of Louisiana. He’s a pro-gun, pro-life Democrat. They’re as rare as hen’s teeth, but some are pro-2A.

      Rest In Peace, Sheriff.

      https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/lowndescountyalabama/PST045218

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Red, you don’t understand the politics of the deep South. In the rural south local elections are decided in the primaries. Whoever wins the Democratic primary is the de facto winner of the office. The November election is a formality. I’ve been a registered Democrat since 1977 just so I can have a say in city and county elections (voting for state and national candidates in the primaries that I know can’t win is an amusing bonus). In November I vote Republican. Being a Southern Democrat has nothing to do with being left or right. It could go either way.

  7. avatar Leadslinger says:

    Sounds like the kid was shielded from earlier consequences, possibly due to one of his parents being a LEO. That was the seed of this action.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Minor in possession of alcohol is a nothingburger that would almost always get dismissed as a first offender with participation in a diversionary program. The brass knuckles charge depends on the location whether it’s considered a big deal or not.

      Too little information for me to decide what caused this.

  8. avatar Chief Censor says:

    Why? Why did a white conservative male, who is the son of a so called law enforcement officer, use a gun to kill a black law enforcement officer?

    Was the owner of the gas station not white and the group of kids were white? The black police chief came around to tell them to get out or else? Then the white kid decided no Democrat black man is going to tell him what to do?

    How does a cop raise such a kid and allows him not to get punished for his actions before he murders? Where was that minimum mandatory sentence for criminals?

    1. avatar Mark Webb says:

      Where in this article did it say that William Chase Johnson is a conservative?

      1. avatar jwm says:

        My money is on socialist. Likely pictured himself as an antifa warrior. They’re mostly bratty white kids.

    2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      “How does a cop raise such a kid and allows him not to get punished for his actions before he murders?”

      Not surprisingly, you don’t know jack-shit about kids of cops. Being the kid of a cop in school means being labeled as un-cool to the cool crowd. Don’t do or say anything around him you wouldn’t want a cop to know.

      What’s a kid to do then? Prove they are cool, by turning into a thug criminal…

      1. avatar Arandom Dude says:

        That’s the truth Geoff. I went to school with a kid who was always shoplifting, doing drugs and stuff as a means of rebellion and earning his stripes as a cool kid. As far as we could tell his cop dad was a decent guy who was constantly exasperated with that BS.
        P.S: Eff off Chief Censor.

    3. avatar Ragnar says:

      Is this MSNBC or CNN? We immediately jump to the racist narrative?

  9. avatar Leadslinger says:

    Alabama sheriff shot and killed over loud music, witnesses and police say

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. – An Alabama sheriff was shot and killed Saturday night and law enforcement apprehended the suspect after a nearly four-hour search.

    Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams’ death was confirmed by a fellow sheriff, Derrick Cunningham of Montgomery County.

    Williams was fatally shot when he approached a truck because the music was loud, and he was asking an occupant of the pickup to turn it down, according to law enforcement and an eyewitness.

    About 8:15 p.m. Saturday, Williams was shot at aconvenience store. Law enforcement apprehended the suspect William Chase Johnson when he walked up to the shooting scene at about 12:05 a.m. Sunday with a firearm in his hand and was taken into custody.

    Johnson has been charged with murder, according to jail records. No bond has been set.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/alabama-sheriff-shot-killed-while-034605659.html

  10. avatar Wayne says:

    He turns 21 in prison doing live without parole.

    1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      Just like the country song…

  11. avatar 24and7 says:

    The saddest thing is the sheriff probably had a sense of entitlement, for being in administration TOO LONG.. a lot of times the higher-ups in police and Sheriff departments forget where they came from..most do not practice officer survival skills very often… I think the sheriff forgot that this is one of the most dangerous periods in law enforcement history.. even though he preached it to his subordinates.. he probably viewed himself as the Almighty Sheriff and did not believe it could happen to him.. hopefully this will be a lesson to all Administration, high-ranking officers and detectives too train much more vigorously… in the future it will probably get worse..

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