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Grieving Lowndes County prays over loss of Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams

Rickey Stokes

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Posted by: RStokes
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Date: Nov 25 2019 1:43 AM

Lowndes County residents gathered in the town square in Hayneville on Sunday afternoon to pray for strength and healing from the loss of a man who they said carried a capacity for helping others that matched his nickname, Sheriff “Big John” Williams.


“Everybody loved him,” Lowndes County District Judge Adrian Johnson said. “He was just one of those rare people that went out of his way to make sure that you knew that he cared about you.”


Alicia Davis, a minister at Greater Mount Zion AME Church in Hayneville, was one of the prayer leaders at the afternoon vigil and was not surprised at the large turnout.


“Big John was one that loved everybody,” Davis said. “When he saw you, he spoke to you. It doesn’t matter what color with him. He loved everybody. He cared for everybody. Young people, he would come pull them aside, talk to them. And he saved a lot of people.”


Williams died Saturday night doing his job. He was shot to death at the QV convenience store, just across the road from the site of Sunday afternoon’s vigil. Williams was a career law enforcement officer who was first elected sheriff of Lowndes County in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014 and 2018. He became the fifth law enforcement officer in Alabama to die from gunfire in the line of duty this year.


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