Reports from: the Grio and AL.com
Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams of Lowndes County, Alabama
A white teen is in custody following the death of popular Black Alabama sheriff, who was killed in the line of duty on Saturday night in Hayneville, Alabama, the county seat of Lowndes County, Alabama.
“He was a wonderful man,” ALEA Trooper Sgt. Steve Jarrett said during a Saturday night press conference. “Everybody in law enforcement knew him. If you ever met him, you’d never forget him. He worked 24/7 and was an outstanding sheriff.”
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor also spoke to the media calling Williams, “a man you’ll ever find. He always had a kind word for everyone,” Wade said. “It’s just heartbreaking.”
Following a three-hour manhunt, 18-year-old William Chase Johnson returned to the scene to surrender to police. AL reports that Johnson is from Montgomery and the son of a law enforcement officer; he also has a criminal history that includes his August charge for being in possession of brass knuckles and being a minor in possession of alcohol. Those charges were later dismissed.
Law enforcement, court and even state officials mourned the loss of Williams, including Alabama Governor Kay Ivey who took to Twitter to express her condolences.
“I’m saddened to hear about Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams, who was tragically killed this evening in the line of duty. Through his service to our country in the USMC and his many years working in law enforcement, he dedicated his life to keeping other people safe,’’ she wrote. “He will be remembered as a consummate professional and pillar of his community. I offer my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and the men and women of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.”
According to AL, Williams was also known as the officer that arrested Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H Rap Brown during his time as a leader in the Black Power Movement of the 1960s, in 2000. Al-Amin was later convicted in the fatal shooting death of an Atlanta police officer.