Unarmed airman shot in gut by Alabama police as he lay on ground following traffic accident

By Travis Gettys
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 9:19 EDT
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Police shot a 20-year-old airman as he lay on the ground following a traffic accident along Interstate 85 in Alabama, the man’s family said.

Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Davidson was traveling Thursday evening from Texas to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, near Goldsboro, N.C., in a 2004 GMC Envoy when he changed lanes and clipped a semi-truck with his driver’s side mirror, according to police.

Davidson stopped and got out of his SUV to exchange insurance information with the semi’s driver, the airman’s father told the Opelika-Auburn News.

“He said he didn’t get that far,” said Billy Davidson. “When (he was walking) to the truck, he said he heard something but couldn’t tell what it was. There was a lot of noise, but (he) could see the reflection of the lights off the truck — the police lights. Then he did what I told him to do. I told my boys if you see police lights (to) stop, put your hands up and turn around.”

The elder Davidson said his son held up his arms, holding his wallet in one hand.

“The next thing I know I was on the ground,” Michael Davidson told his father. “That’s when they shot me. 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.”

Michael Davidson told his father that police immediately searched his vehicle, even before he received medical assistance.

“After being shot, the officer was yelling at Michael, asking where the ‘other person’ was,” his father told the Panola Watchman. “Michael was traveling alone, and has no idea who the ‘other person’ is.”

But police said officers and emergency medical personnel responded “as quickly as possible,” and even discussed sending a medical helicopter to assist.

Billy Davidson said his son nearly bled to death and suffered severe injuries to his stomach and colon, and he may never fully recover from his wounds.

“As a result he’s probably out of the Air Force,” Billy Davidson said.

Officer Phillip Hancock a seven-year veteran of the Opelika police department, has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Billy Davidson said he was not notified of the shooting until about noon Friday – nearly 16 hours later.

“Did you have a son named Michael Davidson?” Billy Davidson said police asked him. “I told him, ‘I hope I have a son named Michael Davidson.”

Billy Davidson said he felt that police had tried to portray his son as a criminal, rather than a recent graduate with high grades from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas.

“When I got here, I found out they hadn’t even been to the hospital to check on Michael,” he said. “They’re trying to make him out to be a criminal or something. One of the nurses came in (Monday), and after talking to Michael a little she mentioned that she was surprised. She said she wasn’t expecting to find a sweet kid when she came in, she was expecting a hardened criminal.”

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