On Christmas Eve, when many people were making their final preparations for Christmas, Sammie Davis Jr.s family was finalizing funeral arrangements for the man they called Junebug, still trying to make sense of things.
Davis was shot to death Friday by a Macon police officer outside the Kroger grocery store on Pio Nono Avenue.
Cheryl Davis, one of Sammies three sisters, said police still havent given the family any details about what happened Friday afternoon, when officer Clayton Sutton, 29, shot Davis three times after a scuffle between the two men. Police officials said Sutton was in the process of serving a warrant when the incident took place.
Sutton is currently on leave during the investigation, and department spokeswoman Melanie Hofmann said there are no updates in the investigation.
We saw the internal affairs officers, and they said theres going to be an investigation, Cheryl Davis said. Anything else we learned was on TV or in the newspaper. There was a lot of people at Kroger, but no one saw what happened.
Davis said she didnt know if the warrant was for her brother, whom she said had never been in trouble with the law. He spent most of his days walking from their house on Hillyer Avenue to Kroger, where he would spend most of the day people-watching while drinking a Big K cola and eating chips.
Davis said her brother never caused any problems there, and most of the supermarket staff and regular customers referred to Sammie as Mr. Big K. She said Sammie had gone to that Kroger for years and knew several of the police officers at the substation located next door.
Davis said she gave her contact information to the Kroger managers in case her brother ever had any problems. She said the managers told her Mr. Big K, he doesnt bother anybody.
This isnt the first time the Davis family has had to cope with a shooting death. Their brother Ronnie was shot to death in front of his home on Mary Drive by an acquaintance May 24, 2003. Dennis Jackson Grimes was charged with the murder after he and Ronnie Davis allegedly got into an argument about a broken chainsaw. Both men called police as the argument got out of hand, and police later said Grimes killed Davis with a shotgun.
Kira Davis, Sammies niece, said she couldnt imagine him getting into any sort of confrontation. She speculated that Sutton might have misconstrued Davis hand gestures, which he made when he got upset or nervous, which led to the confrontation.
I could never imagine anyone harming Junebug, or any violence with him, she said. When I was hearing that Junebug was shot, I thought it was a mistake, or that maybe he was just shot in the arm or something. Right now, I cant even understand.
Family members described Sammie Davis as withdrawn, especially after his parents died four years ago. They said he never spoke to strangers and would never argue with anyone. He had no mental illness, family members said.
Cheryl Davis said some police officials and Mayor Robert Reichert contacted the family Saturday to express their condolences. But Davis said she wants answers from police about what happened.
We are devastated, she said. I dont know what were going to do without him. To me, Junebug wasnt supposed to die like that. The only person in the wrong place at the wrong time was that policeman. I dont know what the hell he was doing. ... I dont think (Junebug) shouldve died while going to a place he went every single day.
Davis autopsy is scheduled Wednesday. The family said the funeral will be Saturday at Bentley and Sons Funeral Home.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.