DHS graduate charged in death of Auburn officer

Grady Wayne Wilkes

A man charged with killing an Auburn police officer on Sunday, May 19, was a graduate of Daleville High School.

According to press releases from the Auburn Police Department, three Auburn police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at a residence in the 3000 block of Wire Road on Sunday, May 19, at around 10:10 p.m. Responding officers were met with gun fire from a white male suspect.

Two officers were injured in the shooting, and one officer was fatally wounded, according to press releases, which identify the two wounded officers as Officers Webb Sistrunk and Evan Elliott. Officer William Buechner, a 13-year police veteran, was killed.

Immediately following the incident, Wilkes fled the scene, initiating a massive search by the APD, the Opelika Police Department, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force members, the FBI, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Corrections and other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

The release states that Grady Wayne Wilkes, 29, was arrested in the 900 block of Lee Road 9 in Auburn on Monday, May 20, at approximately 7:12 a.m. He was taken into custody and charged with capital murder, three counts of attempted murder and second-degree domestic violence, the release states.

Wilkes is a 2011 graduate of DHS, according to Daleville Sun-Courier archives, which show Wilkes being referred to as both Grady Wilkes and Wayne Wilkes. He was an active member of the DHS JROTC throughout his high school career, earning several accolades as part of the organization’s rifle team as a sporter shooter. He also received the Sons of the American Revolution Award in honor of outstanding leadership qualities, military bearing and excellence.

Social media posts on a Facebook page believed to be Wilkes’ show military service in the Alabama National Guard E Company, 173rd Infantry Battalion.

According to court records, a request for protection from abuse was filed in Enterprise court in 2018 against Wilkes, but the request was later dismissed without prejudice by District Judge Chris Kaminski in January 2019.

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