MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — If you’ve passed by the “William Biles Memorial Highway” sign on Highway 67 near Brewer High School, you may have taken a moment to wonder who exactly is William Biles.
Biles, also known as ‘Bill’, was a Morgan County Sheriff’s Deputy who was killed in the line of duty just over 38 years ago, preventing a possible school shooting according to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
MCSO and the community continue to recognize Biles each year in May around the anniversary of his great sacrifice, as the Fallen Officer Memorial and that road, designated by the sign mentioned above, are named in his honor.
According to the MCSO, Deputy Biles interacted with a vehicle near A.P. Brewer High School at around 8:28 a.m. on May 21, 1985. That vehicle eventually left the area, but Biles noticed the vehicle again at around 1:16 p.m.
Four minutes later, Deputy Biles radioed in, stating he had been shot and needed assistance.
He had reportedly approached the driver’s side of the suspicious vehicle to ask for their ID when he saw the barrel of a semi-automatic rifle. While trying to push the barrel of the gun away from his head and toward the driver, authorities say Biles heard a click.
“As he reached for the barrel, he heard a “click” but did not know if it was the safety or the hammer on the weapon. Just as he touched the barrel, he heard the weapon fire and felt his chest burn,” the MCSO said in their post remembering Biles.
The vehicle was driving away, but not before it is said Deputy Biles got a few shots in and even hit the suspect’s gas tank, causing him to run out of gas in Cullman County.
Cullman County authorities were notified by a couple who had been listening to scanners that the out-of-gas vehicle was at Hebron Church. A Cullman County Deputy and a Blount County Deputy approached the car and the suspect, directing them to throw the weapon and exit the car.
It was reported that the suspect was a minor and former Brewer High student armed with a semi-automatic rifle, two rifle clips, 372 rounds of ammunition and a knife and dealing with mental health issues. That subject was later convicted on capital murder charges but committed suicide in prison in 1989.
Authorities say that many credit Biles with saving lives that day.
Deputy William ‘Bill’ Biles succumbed to his injuries in a Hartselle Hospital just two days later on May 23, 1985.
Now, 38 years later he is remembered in many ways for that courage he is credited with displaying while in the line of duty.