Major Davis Jr., the man suspected of killing an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officer late Saturday, is no stranger to encounters with law enforcement. The day before his 14th birthday, Davis' father died while in police custody — an incident later questioned by Davis' family.
Major Davis Sr., who was 35 at the time of his death, was arrested in May 2003 on a preliminary charge of public intoxication. Police at the time asserted that Davis was belligerent and punched one of the officers, yelling to them that he was "not going to be taken to jail," according to an Indianapolis Star report at the time.
Within minutes of being handcuffed, police noticed Davis was having trouble breathing. They called for an ambulance. Davis was later pronounced dead at Wishard Memorial Hospital. Autopsy reports at the time concluded that Davis had suffered a heart attack and that his "physical exertion" as he resisted arrest contributed his distress.
Tiffany Bowers, sister of Major Davis Sr., said at the time the family planned to ask for an independent autopsy and intended to challenge police findings. When contacted Sunday morning, Bowers said friction within the family prevented that challenge from going further.
Davis Sr. was a father of five who worked as a cement pourer. Jail records show he had been arrested in Marion County 15 times dating back to 1985. According to Indiana Department of Correction records, Davis Sr. spent at least three years in prison on a drug conviction.
Davis Jr., now 25, was taken to Eskenazi Hospital on Saturday night in critical condition after police said he exchanged gunfire with IMPD Officer Perry Renn. Police said Davis Jr. was brandishing an assault rifle when police found him at 34th Street and Forest Manor Avenue. He is now out of surgery and faces a preliminary charge of murder. Renn was fatally wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
IMPD police report records also list Renn as one of the officers who responded to the death investigation of Davis Jr.'s father.
Renn died at 9:58 p.m. Saturday at Eskenazi Hospital.
Bowers said while she had heard about Saturday night's incident, she did not know many details.
Police reports show Davis Jr. had several run-ins with Indianapolis police over the past decade. In August 2005, when he was 16, Davis. Jr. was picked up as part of a truancy sweep, according to a police report. Two years later, police said they found him and another man inside a home known for drug activity, where police also found two fully loaded 7.62 SKS rifles, marijuana, cocaine and $2,293 in cash.
Despite those arrests, online Marion County court records show only one conviction for Davis Jr.: a criminal misdemeanor possession of marijuana charge filed in August 2008.
According to a police report, Davis Jr., then 19, was stopped by police because he was riding a scooter on a sidewalk. The report says Davis Jr. seemed nervous while police were questioning him. Officers later found marijuana in his pants, leading to the marijuana possession charge.
Court records show Davis Jr. received probation and was required to attend Narcotics Anonymous classes.
During an incident in May 2006, however, police records indicate Davis. Jr. led one IMPD officer on a brief vehicle chase before being arrested on a charge of reckless driving and drug charges. According to the report, that officer was Greg Milburn.
Just over a month ago, Milburn was wounded in an Eastside gunbattle with a 36-year-old suspect after two women had been killed. Milburn was spared serious injury because the rounds hit his bullet-resistant vest. The suspect, Quintico Goolsby — who police believe killed a grandmother and granddaughter at the women's home on North Dearborn Street — was killed by Milburn in the exchange of gunfire.
Call Star reporter Jill Disis at (317) 444-6137. Follow her on Twitter: @jdisis.