Suspected killer of Auburn officer indicted by Lee County Grand Jury


AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – A Lee County Grand Jury has indicted an Auburn man in the Capital Murder of Auburn police officer Will Buechner, along with three counts of Attempted Murder and Domestic Violence Strangulation. 

The Auburn officers were met with gunfire on May 19, 2019, while responding to a domestic violence call at Arrowhead Mobile Home Park off Wire Road. Officer William Buechner was killed in the shooting. Officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott were injured, another Auburn officer escaped the shooting without injury. 

The suspect, 30-year-old Grady Wilkes, was arrested some nine hours later about a mile away from the scene of the shooting. 

A Lee County Grand Jury returned the indictments after they met on September 17, 2020. Wilkes is being held without bond.

”As a general rule, Capital Murder cases take longer to be presented to a grand jury. This is due to the nature of the investigation and the extensive and time consuming battery of forensic analysis that accompany these cases. We have been greatly delayed in 2020 by Covid-19 when it comes to empaneling grand juries,” said Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes.

Wilkes is facing Domestic Violence Strangulation involving the mother of his child.

District Attorney Brandon Hughes is seeking the death penalty. Wilkes has an arraignment date set for October 23. 

Wilkes is accused of firing on police responding to a domestic disturbance at the mobile home park off Wire road. Court documents obtained by News 3 confirm chilling details.  

According to the probable cause for arrest on the affidavit:

“Officers met with a victim who told them her live-in boyfriend and father of her child, Grady Wayne Wilkes, had threatened to kill her as well as physically assaulted her. She advised that he had grabbed her by the wrist and also choked her. She fled the residence and met officers at another location inside the trailer park. Multiple Auburn Police Officers, including Officer William Buechner, went to the residence in an attempt to make contact with Wilkes. Officers knocked on the door, and Wilkes answer the door wearing body armor and was armed with a rifle. After Wilkes opened the door, he immediately began firing at the officers. Officer William Buechner, Officer Mark Sistrunk, and Officer Evan Elliott were all struck by gunfire. “

Officer Buechner succumbed to his wounds at the hospital. He was a husband, father of two, and a beloved 13-year veteran of APD. 

Wilkes was arrested nine hours later after a massive search located him about a mile away from the shooting scene. News 3 has confirmed Wilkes was active with the Alabama National Guard since 2010. He was assigned to the 173rd Infantry headquartered in Enterprise. Wilkes was an infantry fire team leader.

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