Auburn officer’s death prompts Alabama’s first ‘BLUE Alert’

Auburn officer’s death prompts Alabama’s first ‘BLUE Alert’
Grady Wayne Wilkes (Source: Auburn Police Department)

AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The shooting of three east Alabama police officers, including one fatally, late Sunday night prompted the first ever issuance of a ‘BLUE Alert’ in Alabama history.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Alabama Fusion Center issued the alert at the request of the Auburn Police Department after a domestic violence call to police erupted in gunfire at an area mobile home park.

Killed in the line of duty was veteran Officer William Buechner (pronounced Beek-ner) and injuries to Officer Webb Sistrunk and Office Evan Elliott.

The alert was sent out in the early Monday morning hours as a manhunt sought the suspect who fled the scene. That suspect, later identified as 29-year-old local resident Grady Wayne Wilkes, was captured around 7 a.m. Monday about a mile from the scene of the shooting.

A screenshot of the since-cancelled ALEA BLUE Alert, issued May 20 for Grady Wayne Wilkes. The case was the first time in Alabama history that a BLUE Alert was activated.
A screenshot of the since-cancelled ALEA BLUE Alert, issued May 20 for Grady Wayne Wilkes. The case was the first time in Alabama history that a BLUE Alert was activated. (Source: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency)

"Our hearts are heavy at ALEA, said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor, “and our prayers are with Auburn Police Department family...”

BLUE Alerts are possible when a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer in Alabama has been killed or seriously injured and the perpetrator is at large.

The state enacted legislation making a BLUE Alert possible in 2012, but it had never been used until now.

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