Wednesday, December 10, 1997
Witness: Killer hid gun in pants

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Angela Mills
Aware that two police officers were knocking on the door, Alonzo Davenport hurried to grab a handgun and tuck it into his pants, according to one of the women who witnessed the shooting of plainclothes officers Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter.

During an interview Tuesday at the Hamilton County Justice Center, Angela Mills, 23, described the violence that erupted at 23 W. Hollister St. on Friday night.

A quiet party with friends suddenly turned ugly when officers arrived and began to arrest Mr. Davenport, she said. Within minutes, three men were fatally shot.

The last thing she saw before leaving was Officer Pope looking up at her.

''I saw a tear coming out his eye, and I ran,'' Ms. Mills said, touching her cheek with a finger. ''I don't know if he was dead or not.''

Tears welled in her own eyes when she described that moment. Fear, she said, kept her from calling for help or offering aid to the fallen officers. ''I was scared. I didn't know what to do,'' Ms. Mills said.

Tuesday afternoon, she was dressed in tan jail fatigues, visiting briefly with family and friends in one of the justice center visitation rooms. Ms. Mills, charged with failure to report a crime, is being held in the justice center in lieu of a $100,000 bond. The bond is 40 times higher than the maximum fine for that kind of misdemeanor.

Alonzo Davenport
Four people were in the apartment late Friday. Mr. Davenport and Ms. Mills were joined by Marvin Jones, who had been staying there, and a 14-year-old girl. The teen-ager, a friend of Ms. Mills, is also being held on a charge of failingto report a crime.

Mr. Davenport knew police wanted to serve him with a warrant and had avoided them already that day.

A short time before they entered the apartment, they walked up to the door, then abruptly left. Mr. Davenport and Mr. Jones had turned off the lights and TV in hopes of convincing them no one was home, she said.

The second time they approached the door, Spc. Jeter knocked and identified himself and his partner as police officers and said they were looking for Alonzo Davenport.

Mr. Davenport hurried to snatch his handgun from behind a recliner before opening the door, Ms. Mills recalled. When Mr. Davenport opened the door, they stepped in and showed their badges. In their hands, they carried police radios.

They asked Mr. Davenport his name, then Spc. Jeter turned to Mr. Jones and asked whether he was selling marijuana. Mr. Jones, standing up with his hands in the air, indicated he was and it was in his pocket, Ms. Mills said.

Then the officers turned to Mr. Davenport and told him they were arresting him on an outstanding warrant.

''They grabbed him by the arms,'' she said. ''I don't know, I think he was struggling. He looked like they had his hands behind his back.''

Then one of the officers saw the gun tucked into the back waistband of Mr. Davenport's pants and shouted a warning to his partner.

Suddenly, what had begun as a routine arrest on a domestic violence charge turned into a nightmare.

''Marvin ran,'' Ms. Mills said. ''I ran and slipped on some beer Marvin spilled and landed on the floor. Maybe I blacked out for a second or two.'' As she lay on the floor near the kitchen, she heard two quick pops.

''I thought it was Lonnie who got shot,'' she said of Mr. Davenport. Then she saw him race past her out of the house, still carrying the gun. A few minutes later, he would shoot himself in the head. But at that moment, Ms. Mills said, she was worried he would turn the gun on her.

She looked back at where the officers lay on the floor. Spc. Jeter's back was to her. ''I saw the white police officer. I saw a tear coming out his eye, and I ran.''

Outside, she saw the 14-year-old girl. Mr. Davenport was running north, up Hollister. She and the teen-ager headed in the other direction.

Today's report

Thousands pay their respects
Web sites, other memorials
Pastor hopes funeral brings peace
Funeral information
Spc. Jeter's organs donated

Tuesday's report

911 boss admits error likely
Borgman cartoon
Shock, grief and guilt Laura Pulfer column
City thanks slain heroes
Killer's family visits his home
Many officers limited in experience
Forces across Tristate take heed
Names to be added to memorial

Monday's report

Argument preceded shooting
Tragedy puts face on job Cliff Radel column
Families lean on faith, memories
Friends, acquaintances mourn
Grief stays, say families who know
Police deaths declining

Sunday's report

Community mourns fallen officers
Suspect's family: He was 'respectful'
Sequence of events
Officers highly regarded
Officers deal with sorrow, job's risks
Chief's message: 'Take care of each other'
Hollister St. residents shocked