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Suspect in custody in shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff

(Source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office) Suspect in custody in shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff
(Source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office) Suspect in custody in shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff

The suspect in the shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams is now in custody.

NBC affiliate WSFA reports that 18-year-old William Chase Johnson was taken into custody at the same QV gas station where the murder took place after a nearly four-hour manhunt.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office assisted in the arrest, with Sheriff Tom Boatwright leading Johnson, in handcuffs, to the backseat of a patrol unit.

The Montgomery Advertiser spoke with a witness who said sheriff Williams was shot when he approached a truck because the music coming from it was too loud. When as asked the occupant to turn the volume down, he was shot once in the head.

The Monroe County Sheriff's Office posted this statement in their Facebook Group:

"Sheriff Tom Boatwright leads the way as murder suspect, William Chase Johnson was taken into custody. Johnson is accused of opening fire on beloved, Lowndes County Sheriff "Big John" Williams as Sheriff Williams responded to a call at a convenience store in the Lowndes County Courthouse. Sheriff Williams did not survive the attack and was pronounced dead around 8:15 PM on November 23, 2019. Sheriff Boatwright asks for everyone to keep the family of Sheriff Williams, the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, the citizens of Lowndes County, and the law enforcement community in your prayers."

Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran released this statement Sunday afternoon:

"I was very sad to receive the news about the shooting death of Sheriff John Williams. Sheriff Williams was one of the most well liked and well respected Sheriff's in our Association. He was known as "Big John" not just because of his height, but because of his deep commanding voice and his very large command presence. I am honored that I was able to work with him over the last 12 years through the Sheriff's Association. However, the greatest honor was being able to call Big John my friend."

Citronelle Police Chief Tyler Norris released this statement Sunday night:

"Big John and I have been friends for many years, Big John never met a stranger. The first time we ever met years ago we became instant friends, it took us seconds to figure out we both were Marines and law enforcement officers and that sealed our friendship forever. I was working for the Alabama ABC Board at that time. I later went to work for the Clarke County Sheriffs Office where he and I was able to spend more time together. He and the Sheriff in Clarke County were Great Friends, so he came around a lot and likewise. Big John was big in every way... he was tall, he had a deep commanding voice, he dressed big... he was BIG all around. Big John had a servants heart. He being a Marine, and I, well we are taught to be colorblind, when it came to other races, religions, or beliefs. Big John had many white brothers and sister as well as black. He truly believed they were his blood kin. He never saw color as a reason to treat anyone different or love anyone less. Big John was one of those you hear about in our profession that would work for free. He would literally work for no pay at all, if he could have survived financially doing so. He wasn’t one that once he was elected Sheriff that he had “made it” to the top. He worked just as hard as the Sheriff as any deputy anywhere, he wasn’t one to hide behind a desk somewhere and tell someone else to handle the issue, he was an “ I will handle it myself kinda Sheriff” and that was the situation last night. He responded himself to the QV station because assistance was requested by the owner. He went himself and therefore gave his life. That’s what a good leader does, he leads from the front. He was an outstanding leader and Sheriff. I could go on all day about Big John., but in closing I’ll say that Big John is standing his final duty post at the pearly gates, and as a United States Marine that’s what he has waited for his whole life. God knew what he was doing when he chose Big John to stand that coveted post! Rest easy Sheriff Big John Williams and Semper Fidelis my friend! We will handle this post down here until we meet again. - Chief Tyler Norris, Citronelle, AL."