Ashby's Death Has Left One Community Relieved - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/03/06

Ashby's Death Has Left One Community Relieved

The community started a get-well banner for shooting victim Waynetta Toler. The community started a get-well banner for shooting victim Waynetta Toler.

It may seem strange that people are rejoicing over a death, but some say this situation is different, since William Ashby, the man Florida police shot and killed Monday night, was the man police in Effingham County were looking for in connection with the shooting of a store clerk.

One customer said, "Thank you lord Jesus, they got him, got him dead."

This customer, at Mighty Mike's Chevron in Eden, Georgia, is summing up what many in the area are thinking. Carol Willian, a clerk at Mighty Mike's, told WTOC, "Everyone in the community, everyone that knows her is just relieved."

Willian said Ashby came into her life unexpectedly, when he shot her coworker Waynetta Toler in the head more than a week ago. (See Clerk Shot in Head as Robbery Suspect Gets Away.) The chilling crime was caught on camera, an incident people in Effingham County won't forget.

Since the shooting, customers say coming to the store hasn't been the same without their beloved clerk. The community started a get-well banner that is now as large as two doors. One of the messages read, "Waynetta we love you. I miss being with you, but most of all God is love and so are you." This message was just one of many.

Wondering for the past week where Ashby was kept a lot of people on edge, but that's all over with.  Deputies in Saint John's County, Florida, shot and killed Ashby after a high-speed chase Monday night.   

"We opened fire because he had a gun in his hand and he wouldn't drop it when law enforcement told him to do, so it was a combination of things," Sheriff David Shoar of Saint John's County. "You got a homicide suspect who is not complying with commands of law enforcement. So we don't give them a whole lot of time in those types of circumstances."

But one Effingham County woman doesn't care what the circumstances were, she's just glad Ashby can't harm anyone else.

"I'm just really proud of law enforcement," said Laurie Knight, a friend of Waynetta Toler. "They caught him and also got rid of him so we don't have to take care of him."

Now that Ashby is no longer on the run, it's time for this community to heal. "It's been rough," said Willian. "We stuck through it, so it's heads up from here on out."

Everyone says now they just want Waynetta back the way she was. She is still in the hospital recovering from the gunshot wound.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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