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W.Va. deputies shoot man

August 25, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Deputies shot a Harpers Ferry, W.Va., man early Wednesday after he fired up to 14 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle at them and rammed a police car, according to Jefferson County Sheriff William Senseney.

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Despite being shot by police, Bob Davis continued to go after the deputies, prompting Deputy Ward Sigler to use pepper spray on him, Senseney alleged.

Sigler, along with Deputies Earl Ballenger and Richard Jenkins, tackled Davis and handcuffed him outside his house in Shannondale, along W.Va. 9 west of Charles Town, Senseney said.

Police fired about 11 shots from their 9mm handguns, Senseney said. It was not clear where Davis, 23, was hit, he said.

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A Jefferson Memorial Hospital spokeswoman said Davis appeared to have been shot once in his right side near the liver.

Davis was taken to the hospital about 1:41 a.m. Wednesday. He was listed in fair condition in the intensive care unit on Wednesday evening, hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe said.

Shortly after midnight Tuesday, officers received a call from a woman who said her husband was threatening suicide, Senseney said.

Deputies had been to the house previously to serve a family protection order and knew from papers contained in the order that a man at the house had guns, Senseney said.

When deputies arrived at Davis' house at the corner of Cottontail Road and Chipmunk Lane, they saw headlights from a car that was approaching the house.

Deputies were unsure whether the driver got out of the car, but 12 to 14 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle were fired in the direction of the deputies, Senseney said.

The man then rammed his car into a Sheriff's Department cruiser, causing the assault rifle to lodge in the front windshield, Senseney said.

As Davis was trying to pull the rifle out of the windshield, Sigler and Jenkins fired at him, Senseney said.

Jenkins fired about six times and Sigler fired his gun about five times, Senseney said.

A wounded Davis got out of his car and began moving toward Sigler, who used pepper spray on Davis, Senseney alleged.

"He said, 'That doesn't hurt me' and kept coming," Senseney said.

The three deputies tackled Davis, who was taken to the hospital by ambulance, Senseney said.

Two 30-round rifle magazines were found in Davis' Chrysler, and a 30-round magazine with 17 shots remaining was found in the rifle, said Chief Deputy Jesse Jones.

It was not clear Wednesday afternoon where all the shots from the AK-47 landed, although some were in the headrest and trunk of Ballenger's car, Senseney said.

No charges had been filed in the incident.

Senseney said the deputies' decision to fire their weapons was justified because their lives were at stake and they needed to protect themselves.

"I don't think anyone would find fault with what the deputies did," Senseney said.

He said Jenkins' arm was sprained in the scuffle and he likely will miss about a week of work. None of the other deputies was injured.

Davis was charged with domestic battery on April 27 after his wife, Heather Davis, alleged she was beaten with a belt, according to Jefferson County Magistrate Court records. The case has not been adjudicated.

On April 30, Heather Davis obtained a family protection order against Davis after alleging she was being abused or threatened daily, according to magistrate court records. Davis complained she was being physically abused with a belt and had scissors and other items thrown at her, court records said.

Jefferson County Magistrate Katherine Santucci granted a 180-day protective order that ordered Davis not to contact his wife.

Heather Davis withdrew the order the same day because she wanted to begin attending counseling sessions to save her marriage, court records said.

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