MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A lawsuit filed by the family of slain Lowndes County Sheriff “Big John” Williams provides new details surrounding his fatal shooting on Saturday, Nov. 23. 

Williams’ wife Joanne Williams filed a seven-page lawsuit against the Lowndes County Commission that requests workers compensation, including funeral cost expenses, alleging that Williams was on duty when he was fatally shot at a QV convenience store. 

The suspect in the case, William Chase Johnson, 18, of Montgomery, faces murder charges in the incident and is being held without bond in the Elmore County Jail.  He is the son of a Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputy. 

Background: The son of a deputy from a neighboring county has been charged with the murder of Alabama Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams

‘I don’t understand it’: Sheriff’s shooting stuns Lowndes County, Alabama

Sheriff Williams arrived at the convenience store Saturday evening in response to a phone call made by the business owner, the suit alleges. 

“The private citizen business owner advised Sheriff ‘Big John’ Williams that several young adults and juveniles were congregating in the parking lot of the QV business, blocking access to the gas pumps, playing loud music and causing a disturbance of the peace,” the suit states. 

The suit also alleges that Williams responded to the call in a Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department truck and after arriving, approached a vehicle occupied by a young male and female, identified himself as the sheriff and asked them to leave if they were not purchasing any goods.

William Chase Johnson was not one of the two people in the vehicle that Williams was talking to, the suit alleges, but Johnson drove his truck to that area and exited his truck with his pistol in hand, the lawsuit states. 

“William Chase Johnson approached ‘Big John’ Williams without provocation and shot Sheriff  ‘Big John’ Williams while he was fulfilling his duties as Sheriff of Lowndes County, Alabama,” according to the lawsuit. 

Following the shooting, Johnson ran from the scene, only to walk up to the crime scene some four hours later, pistol in hand, after an hour’s long manhunt. He was taken into custody without incident.

The suit requests the commission to pay for all funeral expenses; damages and compensations to the dependents of Williams; and the costs of filing the lawsuit.

Funeral arrangements have been set for Williams on Monday, Dec. 2.

The service will be held Monday at Garrett Coliseum on Coliseum Boulevard in Montgomery. Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. with the service at 11 a.m. Officials are expecting a large crowd for the service since Williams was well-known in the community and respected in the state’s law enforcement circles.

Contributing: Marty Roney and Kirsten Fiscus. Follow Krista Johnson on Twitter: @KristaJ1993

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