911 Recording Clarifies Incident at Candidate's Home
A 911 call released Thursday by the Moore County Sheriff's Office clearly spells out that police thought Tommy Davis, a Republican candidate for state Senate District 29, was armed and suicidal when they responded to his house the night of April 4.
In the 44-minute call, Davis’ wife, Ruby, tells dispatchers at the start of the call that her 63-year-old husband “has been drinking and threatening to commit suicide.”
When the dispatcher asks Ruby Davis whether she needs fire, police or medical personnel, she says, “I think both.”
The call conflicts with an explanation of events Davis provided to The Pilot on Tuesday. He said the incident was a misunderstanding and said he wished that the story would stay out of the paper until after the May 8 primary.
Davis said in a phone interview Thursday that he had no intention of taking his life.
When asked about his continued candidacy, Davis responded emphatically, saying, “I have no intention of dropping out.”
Tommy Davis originally blamed that night on “an emotional breakdown, with the stress of everything.” Later, he and his wife said the issue stemmed from a problem with his blood sugar levels and that his wife had called wanting medical help.
In interviews and subsequent comments on The Pilot’s website, Tommy Davis questioned the professionalism of the Sheriff’s officers, said the statements in the report were misleading and that his treatment may have been politically motivated because he said Sheriff Lane Carter has publicly endorsed Jerry Tillman, one of his opponents in the primary.
Davis, who worked for the Moore County Sheriff’s Office for seven years, is one of three men running for N.C. Senate District 29 in the May 8 Republican primary. The others running are Pinehurst resident John Marcum and incumbent state Rep. Jerry Tillman of Asheboro. No Democrat filed for the position.
Davis wrote on thepilot.com: “... what was omitted was the use of God’s name in vain by Sargent (sic) Key. Training should be in his future as well as other “professional officers” who completely missed the course on dealing with medical emergencies. 6-8 officers with shoulder fired rifles and banana clips to take down a 63 year old man sitting in a chair by his swimming pool is a first in ‘professionalism.’ Empty hands held high and nothing in my pockets, but a hip injury and bruise, and a bloody elbow from being attacked by a 250 pound Sargent Key running at full speed.”
The comment continued: “I cringe to think that Sheriff Carter would allow his ‘professional’ officers to behave in such an unprofessional manner. I will admit, having been in law enforcement for over 10 years, I have never seen or experienced such absentmindedness from a law enforcement officer.”
Davis has said that Sgt. Key used offensive language when speaking with him.
During the call, Ruby Davis tells dispatchers that her husband had hit himself in the head several times and “got himself bleeding,” and that he may be armed.
She said that her husband had advised her not to call 911 or he would kill himself.
“I don’t know what else to do,” she said in the call. “I mean he’s been hitting himself in the head.”
Later in the call Davis says, “I’ve never been afraid of him before tonight.”
Ruby Davis said in a phone interview Thursday that on the night of April 4 she was concerned for the health of her husband, and that he had been having problems with his blood sugar for some time.
At no point during the tape does Davis mention that her husband is a diabetic or may be having an imbalance in his blood sugar.
She said he’d been drinking, and at one point said she didn’t want to go into the bedroom where her husband was.
“I’m afraid to go in there because he’d get more agitated,” she said. “I don’t think he’d hurt me.”
Several times during the conversation, dispatchers asked Davis about guns, and if her husband was armed.
She never said definitely that he had a gun, but at least twice during the call she said she thought he had a gun or was in the same room with a firearm. She also never says during the call that her husband is locked in any room, which is stated in the written police report.
The Sheriff’s Office report said responding officers gathered at the end of Rowe Avenue near Sand Pit Road to decide how to approach the home, when Ruby Davis, who was outside hiding in a shed, reported that her husband had left the house and could be armed. She said he started walking into the woods near the home, the report said.
Officers escorted Ruby Davis from the property and, with her permission, secured three firearms inside the home. Officers confiscated two semiautomatic guns and a .38-caliber revolver and ammunition for each gun.
Tommy Davis came out of the woods and was taken to the ground by officers when he failed to comply with orders to show his hands, the report said.
Davis said he was sitting, unarmed, in a chair by his pool when officers confronted him and took him to the ground.
Davis suffered some minor scrapes and a small cut above his right eye, according to the report.
Davis said on Tuesday that he suffered the cut when he fell inside his home. His wife contradicts that statement in the 911 call, saying “he hit himself in the head and was bleeding.”
During Tuesday’s in-person interview, Davis had a visible bruise on his right arm and elbow and some small scabs on his elbow. He complained of a bruise on his lower right back near his waist.
He later submitted a photo showing a large bruise in that area.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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