Man dies after being shot outside Kroger by Macon police officer

jkovac@macon.comDecember 21, 2012 

By the time most anyone in the bustling Kroger parking lot looked up to see what the gunshots were about Friday afternoon, Sammie Davis Jr. lay dying on the curb, feet from the supermarket-patio bench where he passed the time munching chips and drinking soda.

A Macon police spokeswoman said Davis and officer Clayton Sutton, 29, scuffled when Sutton pulled up to serve some kind of warrant about 3:30 p.m.

A teenager ringing a bell at a Salvation Army kettle nearby saw Sutton cruise up and start talking to Davis.

“I guess to tell him to get off the premises or whatever,” James Sanford, 16, said.

Sanford looked away. He heard three shots.

“I guess the man was resisting,” Sanford said.

Davis, 49, died about an hour later at a hospital.

As of Friday evening, authorities hadn’t provided further details of the shooting, which happened just outside the 400 Pio Nono Ave. grocery’s northwest corner.

Davis, described by many at the scene as a homeless man, lived on Hillyer Avenue with his sisters, four or five blocks south of the store.

Sometimes when he took bell-ringing breaks, Sanford, a 10th-grader at Rutland High School, spoke to Davis.

He “seemed perfectly fine, like normal, happy,” Sanford said. “I mean, nothing ever seemed bad.”

Shopper Gladys McCoy was on her way into the store to buy pork chops when Davis was shot in the chest.

“The officer got out of his car and the man throwed his hands up and was saying, ‘I ain’t got nothing’ or ‘I ain’t asking you for nothing.’ ... And as he throwed his hands up, the police officer was backing back -- pow, pow, pow. Three to four shots,” McCoy, 60, said.

She didn’t see Davis with a weapon.

Sutton had a scratch on the right side of his neck.

One of Davis’ sisters showed up about 4 p.m. but left in a hurry.

Peter Dennis, 73, was in his car when he heard gunfire. Dennis was about to wheel around the corner of the store when, through his windshield, he saw Sutton edging away from Davis.

“I would think that the cop was somewhat frightened and then relaxed probably after he realized that the man was down,” Dennis said, “that he wasn’t in danger anymore.”

Shopper Freddie Dumas often saw Davis perched at a picnic table on the porch of the midtown supermarket, which opened 15 years ago last month.

Davis would be chowing down on chips and guzzling soft drinks “until he’s about to bust,” Dumas said. “And when he gets through with them, he goes in there and gets some more.”

Dumas spoke to him all the time.

“But he don’t speak to everybody,” Dumas said. “He only speaks to people he trusts.

“He ain’t social. He talks to hisself.”

To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.