Remembering Auburn fallen officer William Buechner after four years

Published: May. 19, 2023 at 9:31 PM EDT
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AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) - It has been four years since Auburn police officer William Buechner was killed in the line of duty after responding to a domestic disturbance call.

32-year-old Grady Wilkes was arrested and charged with capital murder as prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Today family and friends gathered for a private ceremony to honor the fallen officer.

“With his bike, he thought it was a big trick, but he would put his feet up on the handlebars and kind of ride like that, and he would be like … look at me,” said Ruben Garza.

Friday marks three years since Auburn police officer William Buechner was shot and killed in the line of duty… This morning family, friends and officers gathered at Officer Buechner’s grave for a private ceremony to honor the sacrifice he made.

“Another big part of what we try to do is keep Will’s name out there and make sure no one ever forgets the sacrifice that he’s made,” Duke Garner.

Buechner, who served for the department for 13 years, responded to a domestic disturbance call On May 19th with two other officers…when 32-year-old Grady Wilkes reportedly shot all three... wounding two and killing Buechner.

“I woke up this morning, and he’s all over social media, and it’s awesome. I don’t think anyone is going to forget,” said Ruben Garza.

Last year, Auburn City Council announced a multimillion-dollar project connecting Martin Luther King Drive, known as Alabama Highway 14, to Richland Road to be named after fallen officer William Buechner.

“It’s approximately 1.3 miles also, there will be a multi-use path adjacent to the roadway. The plan is to have it completed by July of 2023,” said Project Manager Brad Griffth.

Ruben Garza said every event that is held helps give back to support the Buechner family, including the two children, Henry and Mckenna.

“What we do now is for the future of those little ones that he has,” said Garza.

The annual memorial ride in honor of Buechner is being postponed, Garner said it’s only right to have this ride take place on William Buechner Parkway once it is complete.

“We normally do it this weekend, but they are at the anniversary, but they are opening it up William Buechner Parkway soon,” said Garza.

Garza said they would let everyone know when that new date will be announced on their Facebook page Auburn Gunners.

A trial date for Grady Wilkes, who is being charged with capital murder, was recently pushed back to July 31, 2023.

To learn more about the William Buechner project, click here.