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Autopsy: Man killed by officer was shot in back

Posted December 19, 2008
Updated December 24, 2008

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— Members of Fayetteville's black community expressed anger Friday upon learning that a man who was killed last month by a police officer had been shot in the back.

Officer Michael Yount shot Kenmara Alvona Davis, 26, near Post Avenue and Hawkins Road while responding to reports of shots fired Nov. 27. Davis was pronounced dead at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

An autopsy report released Thursday determined Davis had been shot once in the lower back, which backed witnesses' statements that Davis was running from Yount when he was shot.

"It's almost the worst news that could have come back," said Myron Pitts, a columnist with the Fayetteville Observer newspaper and the brother of former Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts.

Myron Pitts said he's concerned that the shooting could spark a protest in Fayetteville's black community.

"The legal side of it might even clear Officer Yount, but the perception is it just looks bad in this African-American community – that an officer shot this young African-American in the back," he said.

John Midgette, executive director of the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association, cautioned against reading too much into the autopsy results. Studies have shown a suspect can turn in the couple of seconds it takes for an officer to fire his or her weapon, he said.

The autopsy also showed that Davis was "highly intoxicated" at the time of the shooting, which could support Yount's account of the incident.

The medical examiner's report also says that Davis fired first after Yount ordered him to take his hand out of his pocket. The bullet shattered the driver's side window of Yount's patrol car, the report said.

Police said that Yount was sent to investigate reports of shots fired in the vicinity of Post Avenue and Hawkins Street and found Davis stumbling in the street. Yount fired back at Davis in self-defense, police said.

Fayetteville Police Department policy allows officers to use deadly force to arrest suspects trying to escape or those who present an imminent threat.

Police declined to comment Friday on the case, which remains under investigation.

Jimmy Buxton, head of the Fayetteville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said that he wants to know exactly what happened that night before taking a position in the case.

"We need to know the facts," Buxton said. "(The autopsy report is) not enough for me to say it was in the wrong because I'm not doing the investigation. The investigation is done by experts, and this is what I'm asking everyone: to wait until the experts come back with their findings and then we'll make our decisions."

Three weeks before the shooting, Yount was cleared of any wrongdoing in a June shooting of three men who attacked him and his police dog.

Yount has been placed on administrative duty while the State Bureau of Investigation investigates the latest case, standard procedure whenever an officer shoots someone.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • TeresaBee Dec 19, 2008

    I just saw on one of those TruTV shows of crimes caught on tape. As a man was being chased by an officer the man turned around as he was running and was shooting at the officer. It could very well be the same thing. I could see an officer shooting someone he was chasing if that person was turning around shooting as he was running. I mean that is EXACTLY what I saw on crime caught on tape.

  • commonsensical Dec 19, 2008

    I applaud Mr. Buxton's comments and position on this issue!

  • cochrancw Dec 19, 2008

    Don't let the autopsy report be deceiving. It states that the suspect was shot in the lower back on the right side, and traveled toward the upper left side of the front of the body. It doesn't take a pathologist to see that the suspect was turned, to some degree, to his right. I would say that the odds are pretty good that he was running, and firing toward the officer's direction at the same time. I will give a great deal of credit to the NAACP President in Fayetteville. He has reserved judgement, and that doesn't seem to be the norm lately when it somes to that organization. All of the facts will come out, and you will see that Officer Yount is an outstanding police officer. He is a K-9 Officer, and with that, takes some of the tougher assignments in Fayetteville. The honest, hard-working people of the community would appreciate the service he provides.

  • Adelinthe Dec 19, 2008

    "An autopsy report released Thursday determined Davis had been shot once in the lower back, which backed witnesses' statements that Davis was running from Yount when he was shot."

    Doesn't sound right!

    Will have to wait for more details though.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Drakula_I_G Dec 19, 2008

    Autopsy reports in a criminal investigation are public records.
    News organizations in EVERY state have the right to publish them, not just NC. Huge 'n' heavy first amendment issue it be! Knowing a single FACT in a case hardly poisons a jury pool.

  • eviljuan Dec 19, 2008

    The system nearly put 3 innocents in jail all on the word of a lady of the night. Don't tell me about the system. If it hadn't been for outside pressure they would be pulling hard time now.

  • You are Funny Dec 19, 2008

    kopfjaeger2001 wrote: Seems that the officer is guilty of poor judegment

    ?????? Tell me, where was the officers poor judgement. You have a career criminal, who was in possession of a firearm, and he was intoxicated. Next, he took said firearm and then fired it at the police officer. It doesn't say anything about attempting to give up it said he fled. He was still in possession of the firearm and was still a threat to the officer as well as the community in general. Just in case you didn't know when someone fires a gun the bullet travel until it hits something. It doesn't pass the intendend target and get to the next innocent victim and just before striking them stop and say oops you are the wrong person. WAKE UP!!!! Poor judgement, please, that officer more than likely saved lives!!! Great Job officer!!! Well said RPD07!!!

  • Boogalooboy Dec 19, 2008

    duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh all of you... that's why we have juries.... innocent until proven guilty.....didn't anyone learn anything from the Duke Lacrosse case.... how quickly folks forget.... we got a system... let it run its course

  • eviljuan Dec 19, 2008

    You pull a gun on the cops, you gotta go down. Friends don't let friends get drunk and draw on the cops.

  • Deb1003 Dec 19, 2008

    Fire at an officer...expect to be fired upon...regardless of which way you are running.