A man wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of three persons in south Baldwin County on Saturday night was killed Sunday afternoon in a high-speed gunbattle with deputies on Interstate 10, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said.
William Odel Wood II, 37, of Semmes, was shot in the eastbound lanes of I-10 between the north Interstate 65 off-ramp and the on-ramp lanes from the southbound I-65. He was pronounced dead at the scene, Cochran said. None of the deputies involved was injured.
Wood had been the object of a manhunt since about 11 p.m. Saturday, when Fairhope police were called to Speed Tech Automotive, a combination home and business on U.S. 98 in the Barnwell community south of Fairhope
Police and Baldwin County deputies found four persons shot at the location. Three of the four were pronounced dead at the scene, and the fourth, a 33-year-old woman, was able to identify Wood as the man who attacked them with a high-powered rifle.
Names of the victims have not been released pending notification of relatives.
Cochran said a member of the U.S. Marshals Service assisting the investigation got word that Wood was in the Bayleys Corner community near Ala. 193 and Fowl River Road Sunday afternoon.
An undercover officer spotted Wood’s black 1994 Chevrolet Blazer in the area about 3:30 p.m. and followed it north on Ala. 193 from a distance while calling for assistance, Cochran said.
When Wood reached the Rangeline Road section of Ala. 193, he realized he was being followed and sped up, and eventually marked deputy cars began pursuing him as well, according to Cochran.
The chase intensified as Wood turned onto eastbound I-10. There is about a three-mile stretch of freeway between Rangeline Road and the next exit, the I-65 interchange.
Along this stretch, Cochran said, Wood’s truck clipped another vehicle but did not injure the occupant, and he also accelerated to speeds reaching 100 mph.
Near the Riviere du Chien Road overpass, Wood opened fire on the two deputies pursuing him, Cochran said, and the deputies returned fire. After the gunfight, Wood’s Blazer was left turned partly around on the north shoulder of the road.
Mobile County District Attorney John Tyson said Wood used both a high-powered rifle and a pistol to fire on the deputies. “While the investigation is still going on, it appears to be a justified, clean shooting,” Tyson said.
Neither Tyson nor Cochran would identify the deputies involved in the shooting. Both said it was Wood who fired first.
Tyson noted Wood was a man with serious personal troubles. He said Wood suffered from a disease that required him to wear a colostomy bag.
A colostomy is a surgical procedure that attaches a part of the colon to the abdominal wall, leaving the patient with an opening on the abdomen where the bag is attached.
Tyson said Wood’s son was killed in a traffic accident in front of the same location where the triple homicide took place.
In March, William Austin Wood, 4, was killed when a pickup truck driven by a neighbor, 41-year-old John Michael Burnette, struck the boy, according to Alabama State Troopers.
Jesse Warrick, in an interview last month, said Melanie Wood, the boy’s mother, was watching William and his 9-year-old sister when William went into the road to catch up with a skateboard.
Online court records indicate Wood was arrested in February on charges of first-degree burglary and attempted murder in connection with what police said was a drug-related stabbing in Saraland. Records show Wood was released on bail on those charges, and his case was bound over to the grand jury earlier this month.
Follow Us On Twitter/privateofficer
Join Us At MySpace/privateofficernews
Join The National Association of Private Officers