Former University of Alabama And Olympic Track Star Emmit King Dies In Shootout | Gold Medalist Knew His Killer

Tragedy has struck in Alabama within the track and field community.

According to reports from authorities, former University of Alabama track star and Olympian Emmit King was killed in a shootout on Monday, Nov. 29.

He died along with another man who shot at him.

An Argument Gone Wrong

On Sunday, reported the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified Emmit King and Willie Albert Wells as the two men who died after exchanging gunfire in Bessemer.

King was a former track star at the University of Alabama. Additionally, he was a member of two Olympic teams. Tragically, he was shot and killed during an argument in Bessemer, Alabama.


According to witness accounts of the incident, the 62-year-old King was having an argument with Willie Wells, 60, outside a house. It turned negative, and both men pulled guns and fired at each other.

Authorities said that King and Wells knew each other.

Wells died at the scene, and King was taken to a hospital where he later died. Additionally, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified both men on Monday.

A True Track Star

King also ran for Jefferson State Community College and the University of Alabama. At Alabama, he became the 1983 NCAA national champion in the 100 meters running it in 10.15 seconds.

That same year, he competed in the first world championships in Helsinki and won the bronze in the 100m. King was part of a U.S. sweep in the 100m along with Carl Lewis, who took the gold. Additionally, Calvin Smith won silver.

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King also competed in the 4x100m relay at the 1983 world championships in Helsinki and won gold along with Lewis, Smith and Willie Gault. King also won the bronze in the 100 meters at the first World Championships during the same year.

Relevance On The International Stage

During the 1983 World Championships, East Germany took the most gold medals at 10 over the first championships and finished with 22 medals. The United States had the following most significant number of golds, with eight, and the most remarkable overall medal haul, having won 24 medals altogether.

Although he didn’t compete, King was a sprinter and a member of the U.S. relay team for the Summer Olympics in 1984 and 1988. During the 1988 Summer Olympics, Canadian Ben Johnson won the 100-meter final with a world-record time of 9.79 seconds. However, he was disqualified after he tested positive for stanozolol, which he has claimed was a sabotaged test.

Tragic Ending

King set his personal best of 10.04 in the 100 meters on June 17, 1988. The event was held at the 1988 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Tampa, Florida. It was the last time the National Championships were held separately from the Olympic Trials in the same year.

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With the Trials held four weeks later, many athletes decided to forgo the National Championships to be ready for the trials. Beginning in 1992, the two meets were combined.

The investigation into the deaths of King and Wells is still ongoing. Details of the dispute between the two men aren’t currently available.

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