MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - When word spread that Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams had been shot and killed, nearly half the sheriffs in the state responded to the scene.
“That’s a great show of what type of person Big John was,” said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.
Sheriff Williams began working as a Lowndes County deputy in 1987, the same year Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor began his career. They were both elected in 2010 and became close over the years.
“I mean, there’s just not a better person that I’ve ever met,” said Taylor.
It was Taylor who confirmed Williams' death to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.
“The very fabric that keeps our country out of darkness is the law," said Jones. "Part of that fabric was ripped away when we lost John Williams on Saturday night.”
Williams was one of the first to offer Jones help when Lee County was hit by a deadly tornado in March.
“He steps out of his car and I’ll never forget the first thing he says is, ‘How can I help,’” Jones said.
That was John Williams, according to everyone who knew him. He was caring, compassionate, and dedicated to the job.
“If he heard a call come out, he was going to go to it,” said Taylor. "And so, this type of call, it’s just really mind boggling for us to understand that it was a loud music call. And it turned to shooting a sheriff. "
Sheriff Taylor is the president of the Alabama Sheriff’s Association. He says the association is already working on a way for the organization to honor William’s legacy.