OPELIKA, AL — While on an interstate drive to his next assignment in the USAF, a young man got in a minor traffic accident. When police arrived to help, they told him to raise his hands. An officer “perceived a threat” presumably because he was holding his wallet — and opened fire. The young airman was shot him in the stomach and will now live the rest of his life attached to a colostomy bag. The department “fully supports” the shooting.
A Life-Changing Trip
On March 6th, Michael Davidson, age 20, was traveling on I-85 on his way to to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base near Goldsboro, NC. Davidson is an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force and was reporting for duty. Near Opelika, Alabama, he got into a minor collision with an 18-wheeler.
Davidson exited his vehicle to go talk to the semi-truck driver. About halfway there, he reportedly heard a noise from behind him — “hollering.” A police officer was now on the scene and was shouting at Davidson.
Police reportedly told to raise his hands in the air, and for reasons unclear, Officer Phillip Hancock of the Opelika Police Department opened fire. Davidson was shot in the stomach.
The victim’s father, Billy Davidson of Texas, has been the primary source of information so far, as his son is hospitalized and unable to speak to the media. He has passed along Michael’s version of the events, and told WTVM his son did nothing to provoke being shot.
“Michael said he heard screaming or hollering and he saw the lights. He realized it was a police vehicle and he raised up his hand. He had his billfold at the time he was turning around saying ‘I am an Airman headed to my—’ and that is as far as he got. As he turned around he felt something hit him and he had been shot,” Billy said.
“He kept asking ‘Why did you shoot me?’”, his father added, noting that his son soon fell unconscious and nearly died.“He lost so much blood they ran out of blood and had to use blood expanders,” his father said.
“The next thing I know I was on the ground,” Michael told his father. “I didn’t realize he shot me. I didn’t know what happened. It was so fast. They couldn’t have been there three or four seconds when I was shot.”
Watch the interview with the father below via WTVM:
Everything According to Policy
Opelika Police Chief John McEachern held a press conference and delivered a prepared statement about the incident.
“As the officer was exiting his vehicle, he observed the driver of the silver SUV (Davidson) was exiting also,” McEachern said. “The officer then gave verbal commands to the driver. It was at this point that the officer perceived what he believed to be a threat. Officer Hancock then pulled his service weapon and fired two shots at the suspect. One of the shots fired struck Airman Michael Davidson.”
And a (vague) threat was perceived a threat, the chief said that the department “fully supports” the shooter and his actions.
“Police officers are authorized to use deadly force in order to protect the police officers or others from what is reasonably an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury,” Chief McEachern said. “Based on the facts and circumstances I’m aware of, Officer Hancock acted accordingly, within departmental guidelines, and we fully support him.”
Justice for Michael
The bullet shredded through Davidson’s intestines and bowels, and he may have to live with a colostomy bag attached to his abdomen for the rest of his life. His Air Force career is most likely over.
“We came here not looking for an attorney, but looking for answers,” Michael’s father explained to WTVM. “We are a law-and-order family and we thought law and order would prevail, but now we are hearing they are looking for charges against Michael.”
He added: “We realize we need to protect our son.”
Protect him from what? Police are exploring felony charges for some synthetic cannabis that the shooter claims to have found on the scene.
No weapons were listed in the police report.
Officer Phillip Hancock has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI).
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