MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - 2019 has been a particularly deadly year for law enforcement officers in Alabama.
The state is now mourning the sixth death of an officer in the line of duty following Saturday night’s shooting death of Lowndes County Sheriff John “Big John” Williams.
Following Sheriff Williams’ death, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall acknowledged the number of law enforcement deaths and said “serving the public in the role of a peace officer is a difficult calling, fraught with peril, yet thankfully many Alabama men and women choose to answer the call, often time putting their lives in danger to protect us. It simply cannot be said enough that we owe these heroes our gratitude and our support."
Five of the six officers’ deaths were the result of hostile gunfire, while one officer’s death was the result of an automobile crash.
Officer Carter was killed on Jan. 13 when he and another officer approached two suspects during an early morning burglary. Two suspects have since been taken into custody and charged as a result of Officer Carter’s death.
Officer Carter was a U.S. Air Force veteran. He had served with the Birmingham Police Department for eight years and had previously served with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Leeds Police Department, and Fairfield Police Department for an additional nine years.
He is survived by his wife and children.
Officer Tuder was killed on Jan. 20 while he was attempting to arrest 19-year-old Marco Perez for a series of breaking-and-entering crimes. Perez was arrested at the scene following the shooting.
Tuder’s death came less than a week after the state began mourning the loss of Officer Carter and just a day after he was laid to rest.
Officer Tuder was a member of the Alabama National Guard and had served with the Mobile Police Department for three years. He had previously been recognized as Officer of the Month.
Officer Buechner was killed on May 19 while responding to a domestic violence incident at a trailer park on Wire Road. The suspect is said to have opened fire almost immediately, killing Buechner and injuring two other officers. The suspect has since been arrested.
Officer Buechner served with the Auburn Police Division for 13 years. He is survived by his wife, son, and step-daughter.
Deputy Dailey was killed on June 11 when the vehicle he was driving crashed. He was en route to the scene of a burglary at the time of the accident.
Deputy Dailey had served with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for two years. He had previously served with the Alabama Department of Corrections, Thomasville Police Department, and Pine Hill Police Department for eight years. He is survived by his daughter.
Detective Cousette was killed on Sept. 16 as he served a failure to appear warrant at a home in Tuscaloosa. Despite being mortally wounded, the officer was able to return fire, wounding the suspect.
Investigator Cousette was a U.S. Army veteran and had served with the Tuscaloosa Police Department for 13 years. He is survived by his two daughters and fiancée.
Sheriff Williams was killed on Nov. 23 at a gas station in Hayneville. The suspect, William Chase Johnson, 18, was arrested hours after a manhunt started when he returned to the scene of the crime.
Sheriff Williams was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and had served in law enforcement for over 40 years. He is survived by his wife and children.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Alabama has seen a total of 519 law enforcement deaths in the line of duty in its history. The majority of those deaths (319) were the result of gunfire, while automobile crashes account for the second-largest number of deaths (77).