A county sheriff in Alabama who served in the U.S. Marine Corps was fatally shot Saturday night after responding to a call at a local convenience store, according to reports.

The death of Sheriff John Williams of Lowndes County occurred around 8:15 p.m. in Hayneville, about 24 miles southwest of Montgomery, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

A heavy law enforcement presence was seen at the store following the shooting, WSFA-TV of Montgomery reported.

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Agents from the state Bureau of Investigations were headed to the scene, the newspaper reported. There was no immediate word about suspects, arrests or the circumstances of the shooting.

Williams was first elected sheriff in 2010 and has held the job ever since, the Advertiser reported.

He “always wanted to make a difference in his community and felt there was no better way to help his community than to protect and serve them in law enforcement,” a statement from the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office said, according to the Advertiser.

“[Sheriff Williams] always wanted to make a difference in his community and felt there was no better way to help his community than to protect and serve them in law enforcement.”

— Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office statement

Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams. (Alabama Sheriffs Association)

Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams. (Alabama Sheriffs Association)

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey posted a Twitter message in reaction to the sheriff’s death.

“I’m saddened to hear about Sheriff Big John Williams, who was tragically killed this evening in the line of duty,” Ivey wrote. “Through his service to our country in the @USMC and his many years working in law enforcement, he dedicated his life to keeping other people safe.

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“He will be remembered as a consummate professional and pillar of his community,” Ivey continued. “I offer my prayers and deepest sympathies to his family and to the men and women of the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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