GBI investigates Macon’s ‘Junebug’ shooting

The Macon Police Department is withholding comments regarding the Dec. 21 Kroger shooting until the Georgia Bureau of Investigation releases its findings.
Approximately 60 days have passed since the Dec. 21 shooting occurred. Officer Clayton Sutton shot Macon resident Sammie “Junebug” Davis Jr. three times in the chest outside the Kroger on Pio Nono Ave. Davis was picked up by emergency medical workers but later died of his wounds. Sutton has been held on administrative leave since the incident, which the police department told the media is standard procedure for officers involved in shootings.
Special agent Rodney Wall with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) told the Telegraph that agents are waiting for forensic evidence to come back from the GBI’s crime lab. Once the results arrive, the case will be handed over to the county district attorney for an evaluation of potential criminal charges.
“David Cooke asked us specifically not to comment on the case until the GBI renders its findings,” said police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet.
Wall told the Telegraph that he expects to receive the forensic results within the next two weeks.
Additionally, police chief Mike Burns met with federal officials from the Atlanta branch of the United States Department of Justice on Thursday, Feb. 14.
Gaudet said that the officials were part of a community division of the Department of Justice, but she was unable to disclose any details regarding the meeting between the chief and the officials. However, the Telegraph reported that Burns called the authorities in “as a precaution” to the reaction to the eventual findings, as well as for consultation regarding future improvements in the police department.
Both Burns and Deputy Chief Henderson Carswell were unavailable for comment.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been looking into the incident for several weeks. Bibb County District Attorney David Cooke called the GBI shortly after he took office on Jan. 1.
Gaudet said the Macon police department was “in full support” of Cooke’s decision to bring in an investigative force from outside the community.
“It’s not unusual for the GBI to be brought in, especially for a case like this that has been controversial,” Gaudet said.
Initially, police reports claimed that Sutton came to the Kroger with a warrant for Davis’s arrest. Sutton further claimed that Davis assaulted and cut him, prompting Sutton to shoot him three times in self-defense.
However, the investigation since then has revealed that no such warrant existed. On Dec. 26, the Telegraph reported police had not found any evidence of Davis being armed.
Macon residents, particularly friends and family of Davis—known to those close to him as “Junebug”—have held several protests outside city hall since the shooting, criticizing city administration for keeping the investigation quiet and for withholding disciplinary action against Sutton.
In response to the criticism, Mayor Robert Reichert urged patience for the GBI investigation to run its course.
“Justice will be done, but we will not be rushed to judge,” Reichert told protesters during a press conference in early February. He added, “I, for one, want to know all of the facts.”
Davis had encountered Macon’s police department at Kroger prior to the events of Dec. 21, according to Tuesday’s online issue of the Telegraph. His last run-in occurred July 7, 2010. The incident report, which was uncovered by the Telegraph and can be viewed on their website, relayed that Kroger employees had called the police after customers observed Davis “acting strange” in the parking lot. An altercation ensued after Kroger employees moved to restrain Davis. One of the store managers sustained minor injuries before Macon police arrived.
Though the incident does not describe what actions Davis had committed to warrant attention, the report does go on to say, evidently, Davis had not been taking his medication for his schizophrenia. He was given an evaluation at the Medical Center of Central Georgia after family and emergency care workers arrived. The injured manager was treated on the scene.
Davis’s sister, Cheryl, was unavailable for further comment regarding the 2010 incident, the Telegraph reports. However, prior to the release of the 2010 report, she maintained that her brother “would never harass anyone.”
“I always worried about him,” Cheryl Davis said. “I always thought some rough kids in the neighborhood would bother him. I never thought the police would kill him.”
The Cluster and other Macon news venues will continue to follow the case as the GBI comes to its conclusions and releases its findings in the future.