LOWNDES COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) UPDATE (5 p.m.) The family of slain Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams says they did not authorize a lawsuit to be filed against the county commission.
The lawsuit originally reported Wednesday morning requested Workers Compensation related to his death. But now the newly released ‘notice of dismissal without prejudice’ issued by the Attorney, Michael G. Strickland who was at one point representing the family, says the lawsuit has been dismissed.
The suit asked for payment of all funeral expenses, damages and compensation, and the coverage for any court costs that may be incurred.
In response to the workers’ compensation lawsuit filed, the Association of County Commissions of Alabama issued a statement:
“No workers’ compensation claim has been filed with the Association on behalf of Sheriff Williams. Nevertheless, he was clearly on duty within the scope of his job when this tragedy occurred. The Association will take care of Sheriff Williams’ workers’ compensation expenses to the fullest extent of the law, as it does in all situations such as this.”
Funeral arrangements have been announced for Lowndes County Sheriff John ‘Big John’ Williams.
10:00 a.m. – The family of Lowndes County Sheriff John Williams has filed a lawsuit against the Lowndes County Commission due to new details about the final moments revealed in the investigation.
Michael G. Strickland, an attorney for Williams’ wife, Joanne Williams, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Lowndes County Commission under the Workers’ Compensation Act seeking funeral expenses for the slain sheriff, damages and compensation for his dependents and attorneys’ fees.
According to the court documents, Strickland says he also plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against several individuals involved in the shooting as well as against those who provided Johnson with the gun he allegedly used to kill Williams.
According to a press release announcing the current lawsuit, Williams was contacted by the owner of the QV saying that there were several adults and juveniles were congregating in the parking lot, blocking access to the gas pumps, playing loud music and causing a disturbance of the peace.
Williams responded to the QV in his sheriff’s truck, which contained sirens, LED emergency lights, law enforcement radios, and law enforcement antennas. Johnson, the attorney said, drove in his truck to the area of the parking lot where Williams was located at the store
According to the court documents, Sheriff Williams initially approached a vehicle with a young man and woman inside. He then identified himself as sheriff and asked them to disperse if they were not there to buy anything. The suspected shooter according to the court documents, 18-year-old Chase Johnson, was not among those originally approached by Williams.
The lawsuit says William Chase Johnson exited his truck with his pistol in his hand and approached ‘Big John” Williams without provocation and shot him while he was fulfilling his duties as Sheriff of Lowndes County, Alabama.
This is an ongoing investigation.