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Retired deputy and suspect dead in Wilcox County incident

Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 12:06 PM CST
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YELLOW BLUFF, Ala. (WSFA) - More details are being released about a domestic incident that left a retired Wilcox County Sheriff’s deputy dead and two people injured.

The incident started around 5 a.m. on Shamburger Road in the Yellow Bluff Community when a woman reported to deputies her soon-to-be ex-husband was going to kill her, Wilcox County EMA Director Melissa Dove said. Yellow Bluff is located between Pine Hill and Camden.

According to Dove, Chief Deputy Trent Gulley and retired deputy Madison “Skip” Nicholson responded to the call. When they arrived, the two men were met with gunfire from the suspect, identified as Billy Bizzell. Gulley was shot in the arm while Nicholson was shot multiple times in the chest and neck. The woman was uninjured during the incident

Wilcox County District Attorney Michael Jackson said Nicholson died at the scene.

Retired Wilcox County deputy Madison “Skip” Nicholson was killed Wednesday night after being...
Retired Wilcox County deputy Madison “Skip” Nicholson was killed Wednesday night after being shot by a suspect in a domestic violence call. He was 78.(Source: Wilcox County District Attorney's Office)

Gulley’s injuries were non-life-threatening, according to Sheriff Earnest Evans.

Both the sheriff and EMA director confirmed the suspect died but gave conflicting reports on how it happened. Dove said the chief deputy shot and killed him. Evans said Bizzell fatally shot himself.

The EMA director said officers with the State Bureau of Investigation, as well as agents from the FBI’s Mobile office, responded to the scene.

Additional details surrounding the incident have not been released.

Gov. Kay Ivey released a statement Wednesday night saying Nicholson’s death is tragic.

“Tonight, my home county of Wilcox tragically lost retired Sheriff’s Deputy Madison ‘Skip’ Nicholson who was shot and killed in the line of duty,” Ivey said. “A chief deputy was also treated for his injuries. We are reminded far too often the grave sacrifice our men and women in blue face each day to protect our communities. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is actively leading the investigation on this tragic situation. My prayers go out to his family and colleagues.”

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) Secretary Hal Taylor said the state has lost “a hero with a servant’s heart.”

“On behalf of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of retired Wilcox County Sheriff’s Deputy Madison “Skip” Nicholson, who was shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this evening,” Taylor said. “Once again, we have tragically lost a hero with a servant’s heart to protect and serve the citizens of Alabama. Retired Deputy Nicholson was a true professional and dedicated public servant. His dedication to serve the public will always be remembered and the sacrifice he made will never be forgotten. We understand this has been a devastating time for all of our fellow officers in Wilcox County, who also suffered from the unexpected loss of Camden Police Chief Lorenza “Tyrone” Dale, earlier this year. As we continue to mourn alongside the law enforcement community, we also pray for the speedy and full recovery of the Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, who was also injured during the course of the incident and fortunately, is reported to be doing well. As we head into the holiday season and near the end of 2021, we are reminded once more of how dangerous a career in law enforcement can be for all of our partners, whether they are full-time officers or continuing to serve as retired employees. We are truly grateful for the men and women who work throughout the state to protect and keep their fellow citizens safe. Both deputies’ courage, resolve, and brave actions will continue to live on and provide us all with an example of a fearless servant’s heart.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said the state is mourning the loss of the retired deputy.

“Wilcox County retired deputy Madison ‘Skip’ Nicholson and Wilcox County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Trenton Gulley were responding to a domestic violence call in the Yellow Bluff Community of Wilcox County Wednesday evening when they were met with gunfire. Both sustained injuries, and Nicholson, who due to the severity of his wounds was airlifted to a Pensacola hospital, tragically lost his life.

“Nicholson, a 40-year veteran law enforcement officer, was well-respected in his community for his dedication to public service. To take an oath to protect and serve one’s community is both a tremendous responsibility and a statement of love for one’s fellow man.

“We mourn the loss of retired Deputy Madison ‘Skip’ Nicholson who lost his life in the line of duty and pray for the consolation of his family and friends. We must not react to this tragedy with indifference. To truly honor Nicholson, as a State, we must recommit ourselves to raising a generation that respects our laws and reveres our law enforcement officers.”

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