US

Gunman Wearing Camouflage Body Armor Kills Police Officer: Suspect Apprehended

By Zachary Stieber

A man who allegedly killed one police officer and wounded two others was captured in Alabama on May 20, less than 12 hours after the shooting triggered a manhunt.

Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, was seen wearing camouflage clothing with body armor and a helmet late Sunday after he shot the officers, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in an alert.

Wilkes, who was described as “a serious risk to the public,” was captured around 9 a.m. on Monday, the agency said.

Oxford Police Chief Bill Partridge confirmed the capture on Twitter, where he posted a mugshot of Wilkes with the word “captured” across his face.

Wilkes allegedly shot the three officers at a mobile home park in Auburn just before midnight.

“At approximately 10:40 p.m. Sunday night, Auburn Police responded to a domestic disturbance call in a mobile home park in the 3000 block of Wire Road,” according to a statement from Lee County Coroner Bill Harris obtained by AL.com.

“When officers arrived a suspect opened fire on the officers, striking three of them. Two of the officers suffered critical injuries and one suffered nonlife-threatening injuries. One officer was airlifted to a Columbus, GA hospital. The other two were transported via ground ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika where one of those officers died from his injuries. The names of the officers are not being released at this time pending notification of all family members and all of the police family.”

Police said the shooting was a tragedy in a press conference but declined to describe the events leading up to the shooting, apart from naming it as a domestic disturbance call that the officers responded to, or the names of the victims.

“This seems to be a citizen who was in need, needing assistance from police. And police responded, did their job, and went to that person’s aid,” Auburn Police Chief Paul Register said. “It’s probably the worst day of my time here.”

A woman who lives in the area told the Opelika-Auburn News that she heard six gunshots late Sunday.

“I heard six shots, rapid-fire like it was an automatic weapon, and then there was a brief pause, maybe a second, and then three more single shots,” the woman, who declined to be named publicly, told the outlet. It was silent before sirens were heard less than five minutes later.

When the woman went outside to see what was happening, police officers told her and others to go inside and stay there.

“I’m locked inside with all my lights on,” the woman said over the phone. “I was laying on my floor, and now I’m in my bathroom.”

While police said Wilkes wasn’t known to law enforcement, court documents obtained by AL.com showed that a 28-year-old woman asked for an order of protection against him in January, alleging that he raped her.

The order wasn’t granted. Charges weren’t filed against him.

“They didn’t really keep us in the loop during the investigation, so we only found out that they didn’t decide to press charges because the prosecution didn’t feel comfortable or confident enough to get a conviction,” the husband of the alleged said.