Terrorist, attempted murder charges

Published 12:04 am Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Andalusia man responsible for Thursday’s three-hour standoff with law enforcement is now charged with the attempted murder of four police officers, as well as making a terrorist threat and domestic violence.


John Paul Williams, 45, is currently being held in the Covington County Jail on a $1.125 million bond.

Lt. Paul Dean of the Andalusia Police Department said Wednesday officers responded to Williams’ Arnold Street home in response to a domestic incident.

“It was between him and his live-in girlfriend, where at one point, he pointed the weapon at her,” Dean said. “It then escalated to a barricaded situation where he was threatening to harm himself.”

Dean said Williams forced the girlfriend to leave the home, but he remained inside.

“When officers arrived, they knew he had a weapon, and he was threatening himself and anyone who intervened, including officers,” Dean said. “We tried to negotiate for more than three hours to no avail.”

Dean said at several points during the negotiations, Williams walked onto his front porch brandishing the weapon and “waving it at the general public,” which is why Williams is charged with making a terrorist threat.

“You can’t wave a weapon at the public at large in that type of situation,” he said.

“At that point, we knew we had to take measures to force him out of the residence.”

Covington County’s incident response team was then called in to use tactical measures such as tear gas to coerce Williams out of the residence.

When IRT members fired shots of tear gas, Williams retaliated by firing shots from a small caliber handgun back at the officers.

“There were two rounds fired out a window that struck within a few feet of four officers outside the residence,” he said.

Dean said a short time later, Williams came out of the residence and was taken into custody. He said Williams had been involved in similar incidents like Tuesday’s in the past; however, none had ever escalated where the IRT team was called.

Chief Wilbur Williams (no relation to the suspect) said the day’s events were a prime example of why it’s important to have an IRT team.

“People think this is Andalusia, Ala., and things like this don’t happen here,” Williams said. “But they do. We’re all thankful that the day had a successful conclusion, and that no one was hurt. Incidents like this really show the worth of law enforcement to this community.”