Tavoris Wilson told fellow officers he was patrolling a Poplar Street parking garage on Jan. 7 when he was approached by two men.
Moments later, the Macon police officer had been shot and was crawling to his patrol truck to call for help on his radio, according to records of the department’s internal investigation of Wilson’s conduct during the incident.
The records didn’t include any notation of wrongdoing on Wilson’s part relating to the shooting aside from him wearing his bulletproof vest backwards and that he hadn’t repaired a broken gun holster. Wilson told an internal affairs investigator the vest “bulged” when worn correctly, according to the records.
“His actions based on his testimony were understandable and reasonable for an officer under the circumstances,” said Capt. Mike Schlageter. “However, his performance was unsatisfactory. He didn’t use his equipment as he was trained.”
Wilson resigned from the department in July after a separate internal affairs investigation culminated in a recommendation for his termination.
Schlageter said results of the internal affairs investigation into the shooting were sent to a review board at the same time as an investigation spurred by Wilson working unauthorized off-duty details on multiple occasions.
The shooting incident was not included on a list of 12 previous disciplinary actions dating back to June 2008, which contributed to the termination recommendation.
The previous offenses ranged from Wilson driving too fast for conditions and failing to appear in court on multiple occasions to sleeping during his shift to working the unauthorized off-duty details, according to the records.
Wilson was sent to desk duty following the shooting. Police department policy says officers on “light duty” aren’t able to work extra jobs off-duty. Also, officers must fill out a request to work part-time and receive approval for the jobs.
Within a span of less than a month, Wilson was discovered to have been working off-duty at Royal Palace on Eisenhower Parkway. One of the incidents was on July 6. In August 2009, Wilson received a written reprimand for a similar offense, according to the records.
Nearly seven months after Wilson was shot in the parking garage, the criminal case remains open.
“It continues to be under investigation,” said police spokeswoman Jami Gaudet.
Records from the internal investigation shed light on the details of what Wilson said occurred:
Wilson was on his way back to the police bike patrol office when he decided to check the parking garage for suspicious activity.
When he made it to the second floor, he saw two men who appeared to be trying to break into a vehicle. Seeing Wilson, the men ran.
Wilson then chased the men in his patrol truck. At some point, he got out and confronted them with his gun.
“I might have said stop, or I don’t know exactly what I said to them,” he said in an interview with an internal affairs investigator.
Both men stopped — one about 5 feet away from Wilson.
One of the men “did a double take” and ran toward Wilson.
Wilson dropped the ammunition magazine out of his gun as he fought with the man, but didn’t clear the bullet out of the chamber. Soon, the second man joined the brawl.
He said he tried to keep control of the gun, his police issued Glock .45-caliber weapon, but it was awkward to have a gun in his hand and try to defend himself.
“When that second guy came in, I no longer had control of my weapon,” Wilson said. “I could feel the weapon when they were turning, turning the weapon towards me on my side, my right side. I prepared to brace myself for a shot, and that’s when I was shot.”
The bullet struck Wilson in his bulletproof vest, which he wasn’t wearing properly.
“I fell to my knees,” he said.
The men ran away as Wilson gasped for air.
Trying to call for help, Wilson said he felt a burning sensation all over his body and started getting cold. Unable to get a call out on the radio after a couple of attempts, he crawled to his truck and used a radio inside the vehicle.
No arrests have been made in the shooting.
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 751-7500 or Macon Regional CrimeStoppers at (877) 68-CRIME.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.