District Attorney Bill Adair said Wednesday Deputy Phillip Williams had reason to fire his weapon last week during a struggle with Vernon Lee Hayes, 44, of Fayette. Williams suffered minor injuries in the incident and was treated and released from Walker Baptist Medical Center, while Hayes was treated for the gunshot wound at UAB Hospital.
“The shooting was justified,” Adair said. “Under the law, the deputy acted responsibly and was justified in his actions.”
Hayes is being held in the Walker County Jail on bonds that total more than $1 million on previous charges of assualt, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident and failure to render aid or information. Those charges stem from an accident in May. With the investigation into the shooting over, Adair said Hayes will now face additional charges of assaulting an officer, giving a false name and resisting arrest.
Adair commended Williams for his police work.
“Deputy Williams went above the call of duty in making contact with this suspect,” Adair said. “It shows how dangerous the job of deputy can be. He was out alone in a rural area with a dangerous person. He did a tremendous job in taking this wanted suspect into custody.”
Investigators John Softley and Jim Underwood looked into the incident for the district attorney’s office.
Sheriff John Mark Tirey said he had requested the investigation.
“I didn’t suspect Deputy Williams had done anything wrong,” Tirey said. “I just thought the investigation would cover all the bases. I’m happy my deputy wasn’t injured any worse than he was. This could have been a terrible situation.”