Three officers shot in Auburn, one fatally
For the second time in a matter of months, a major manhunt had to be launched in Lee County after a suspect opened fire on police officers responding to an everyday call.
On Sunday night, officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call at a mobile home park in the 3000 block of Auburn’s Wire Road.
“Once on scene officers were met with gun fire from a white male suspect, later identified as Grady Wayne Wilkes, age 29,” the Auburn Police Department said.
One officer was shot and killed. Two more officers were wounded, at least one of them critically. Since the shooting, it has been announced that the two wounded officers are expected to recover, according to Opelika-Auburn News.
WSFA is reporting that Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said the officer who died had been airlifted from the scene to East Alabama Medical Center. One of the injured officers was airlifted to a separate hospital, while the third was taken by ambulance.
Following the shooting, a massive hunt was conducted to locate and apprehend Wilkes, who was considered armed and dangerous. A Blue Alert was activated, which occurs when a local, state or federal law enforcement officer in Alabama has been killed or seriously injured and the perpetrator is at large. Wilkes was reportedly wearing camouflage, body armor and a helmet at the time of the shooting.
Speaking to local media early Monday morning, Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said, “This is probably the worst day of my time here and words cannot express the loss for this family, and our family, and this community.”
As of 7:55 a.m. Monday morning, law enforcement officials announced that Wilkes had been taken into custody.
This shooting also triggered Auburn University’s campus safety notification systems, as the initial shooting was approximately five miles down Wire Road from the Veterinary Medicine School.
This comes the day after the conclusion of National Police Week, which honors law enforcement bravery and commemorates officers who died in the line of duty the year previous. In 2018, Alabama lost Mobile Police Department Officer Taylor Billa and Huntsville Police Department Officer Keith O’Neal Earle.
The slain Auburn officer’s name has yet to be released as of 9:30 a.m.
In February, two suspects died at an apartment complex across from the Auburn University Vet School after one shot an Auburn Police officer during a traffic stop. That officer survived.
This story may be updated after Auburn Police’s 11:00 a.m. press conference.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn