PLEASANT VALLEY — Authorities this afternoon captured a man who fired shots at deputies northwest of Jacksonville on Thursday morning, according to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office. The capture ended a 15-hour manhunt.
Sheriff’s deputies and federal agents blocked roads and searched the rural, wooded area north of Jacksonville and west of Alabama 21 for much of Thursday, looking for 45-year-old Charles Williams.
Sheriff Matthew Wade said shortly after 2 p.m. that state game wardens helping in the search apprehended Williams.
“They were on an old railroad bed near Roy Webb Road,” Wade said. “They stumbled across him in the woods. He was armed with two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. He surrendered to the game wardens and he is now in custody.”
No one was injured in the ordeal, the Sheriff said.
Wade said he expected Williams would be charged with multiple counts of attempted murder for firing at the deputies.
During a news conference earlier in the day, Wade said members of Williams’ family went to the Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday night around 11:30 p.m. to report that he’d robbed them at gunpoint with an assault rifle.
“He robbed them of other weapons and other ammunition,” Wade said. “They told us he’d been on methamphetamines and that he felt like people had been following him.”
Wade said Williams allegedly also told family that “they would never see him alive again.
“He said he was going to burn his house down and that he was going to take out law enforcement,” the sheriff said.
Wade said deputies responded to the camper Williams was living in on Dripping Rock Road in Piedmont and found it “fully engulfed in flames.”
“Deputies spotted the suspect’s vehicle ... and that’s when the suspect attempted to hit or strike one of the deputies’ vehicles,” Wade said. “Then he began firing rounds at that vehicle.”
Deputies returned fire and flattened a tire on the man’s vehicle, Wade said, though he managed to drive away. Another deputy spotted the man near Pleasant Valley’s schools and chased him to Cove Road, the sheriff said. Williams got out of the vehicle there and fired at the law enforcement agents chasing him, the sheriff said, before fleeing into the woods.
The Sheriff’s Office received help from Oxford police, Gadsden police, the Etowah County and Dekalb County sheriffs’ offices, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Jacksonville State University’s Center for Applied Forensics, the FBI, Jacksonville firefighters, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the sheriff said.
State court records showed a Charles Leon Williams of an address near the search area was charged with possession of methamphetamines and marijuana in January. After being freed on bond, court records show, he failed to appear in court Feb. 6. A district judge’s order for his arrest was filed Monday.