Court filings detail events leading up to Auburn officer’s death

Court filings detail events leading up to Auburn officer’s death
First responders and a medical helicopter can be scene following a late Sunday night shooting that injured two Auburn police officers and claimed the life of a third. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - Court documents are providing new details about the triple-shooting that injured two Auburn police officers and killed a third Sunday night.

According to filings, the events that set into motion a fatal confrontation between an Alabama National Guardsman and Auburn law enforcement started with a domestic violence call made by Grady Wayne Wilkes’ live-in girlfriend and mother of his young child.

After the confrontation, the woman fled the residence and met officers at another location inside the Arrowhead Park mobile home park, documents indicate. She told officers Wilkes had threatened to physically assault and kill her and that he’d grabbed her by the wrists and also tried to choke her.

After speaking with the woman, the officers went to Wilkes’ residence, inside the mobile home park, in an attempt to talk with him about the incident. Court documents indicate that when the officers knocked, Wilkes opened the door wearing body armor and carrying a rifle.

The report states "he immediately began firing at the officers.”

Three officers were struck, including veteran officer William Buechner who died from his injuries. Two others, officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott were also hit. A fourth officer on the scene, whose name has not been released, was fired upon but was not hit.

Officer Evan Elliott (left); Officer William Buechner (middle); and Officer Webb Sistrunk (right)
Officer Evan Elliott (left); Officer William Buechner (middle); and Officer Webb Sistrunk (right) (Source: Auburn Police Department)

After the shots were fired, Wilkes fled the scene, police have stated. A massive manhunt was initiated late Sunday night, prompting the State of Alabama’s first-ever issuance of a BLUE Alert, an urgent alert that seeks a suspect involved in the death or injury of a law enforcement officer who poses an immediate threat to public safety.

Around 7 a.m. Monday Wilkes was found in a wooded area less than a mile from the scene of the shooting. He was arrested and transported to the Lee County Detention Facility where he was charged with capital murder, three counts of attempted murder, and second-degree domestic violence.

Grady Wayne Wilkes
Grady Wayne Wilkes (Source: Auburn Police Department)

Wilkes had his first court appearance Tuesday and was denied bond.

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