Wallace Wilder

Reporting by WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton

A Pickens County family is still seeking answers as to why their loved one was shot and killed by Pickens County law enforcement officers almost five months ago.

Wallace Wilder’s family said he had a documented past of mental illness for at least 25 years.

“Wallace was more than just a man with mental illness,” his niece, Renota Harris, said. “He was more than just a man who was killed by the Pickens County Sheriff’s Department. He was a man with a family who loved him. We mourn and we grieve every day. This grief has been so overbearing due to the fact that we do not have closure. Almost five months later, and we have no closure as to what happened to our loved one. Wallace’s life mattered.”

A wellness check led law enforcement to Wallace Wilder’s home at Grandview Gardens Apartments in Gordo on Aug. 28, 2019.

“Mr. Wilder was having some type of mental illness episode at that point,” the family’s attorney, Richard Rice, said of the 62-year-old. “There was a wellness check call put in – we really don’t know other than the fact that Mr. Wilder ended up shot at least four times and his home was broken into. The door was forcefully opened. He did not have any type of firearm in the house, we do know that.”

Wallace Wilder’s family said they still do not know what happened that led to him being shot and killed during that wellness check.

“It really makes me very angry,” Wallace Wilder’s daughter, Mariah Wilder, said. “We want justice and we want closure.”

The day Wallace Wilder was shot, Pickens County Sheriff Todd Hall said he was involved in the shooting. Since the shooting, Hall has maintained his office of Sheriff in Pickens County.

“We want to ask that the officers be placed on administrative leave,” Rice said. “And to ask for some timeline as to when this investigation will be concluded. Outside of any forensic investigation that is ongoing, it seems that all of the facts are already known to authorities. So that information should be made available to the family, the public so that we know exactly what happened.”

Pickens County District Attorney Andy Hamlin said he recused himself from the case, and it is now being handled by the Attorney General’s office. WVUA 23 has reached out the AG’s office for comment, but have not heard back at this time.

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