Thousands gather to honor life of Lowndes County Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Many gathered in Montgomery Monday to say their final goodbyes to Sheriff “Big John” Williams.

Williams, who had been sheriff of the county since 2010, was killed last Saturday after being shot at a gas station.

Over 2,000 law enforcement officers and the public packed Garrett Coliseum to honor Williams.

“We still have to shake our heads, not only in frustration in what happened but in the fact we lost a man too soon,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said.

Many of the speakers in attendance shared their stories about “Big John,” who had worked in law enforcement for decades. Montgomery County Sheriff Derick Cunningham said he and Williams were like brothers and traveled everywhere together.

“Me and ‘Big John,’ we went everywhere together,” Cunningham said. “If we traveled we went together, we got on the airplane together.”

Several politicians were on hand to pay their respects to Sheriff Williams. Gov. Kay Ivey attended the public viewing of Williams Monday morning.

Sen. Doug Jones presented Williams family with a flag that flowed over the United States Capitol building last week.

“We mourn today that he has died, but more importantly, we thank God that he lived,” Jones said.

William Chase Johnson, the 18-year-old son of a deputy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, is being held in jail as a suspect in the shooting of Williams.

Now, a new sheriff will need to be appointed by Ivey.

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