Thursday, December 18, 1997
Fatal bullets fit killer's gun

The Cincinnati Enquirer

In the Line of Duty
Enquirer coverage of the deaths of Officers Pope and Jeter

Cincinnati police officers Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter died from the same gun that Alonzo Davenport killed himself with just before midnight Dec. 5, the Hamilton County coroner said Wednesday.

Autopsies, toxicology and ballistics tests released Wednesday reveal 20-year-old Mr. Davenport was the only one with gun residue on his hands. All of the bullets recovered match his .38 Special.

He had four bullets in his Charter Arms Corp. .38 Special revolver when he stuck it into his waistband just before the plainclothes officers entered his Clifton Heights apartment that night.

Moments later, the gun rested in his hand with one bullet left. Three men were dead.

''We only have part of the puzzle,'' Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl L. Parrott Jr. said Wednesday upon releasing his report. It does not say which officer was shot first. Witness statements taken by police will fill in the details, he said.

Mr. Davenport had traces of marijuana in his system the night the two officers tried to arrest him on a domestic violence warrant, toxicology tests showed. But Dan Finke, a poison-information specialist for the Poison Information Center, said it is impossible to determine from such a measurement when the marijuana was taken and how much affect it might have had.

According to the autopsy, there's no evidence that 34-year-old Spc. Jeter struggled with Mr. Davenport before being shot from behind at close range - within 18 inches - in the top left part of his head.

Officer Pope, 35, however, had a scrape on his left ear that ''is likely to have been received in a scuffle,'' Dr. Parrott said in the report summary. He was shot from a distance of 1 to 4 inches just above and behind his right ear, the autopsy says.

The officers were found in Mr. Davenport's living room, wearing street clothes and bulletproof vests, with their guns still in their holsters and their badges hanging from chains around their necks, witnesses said.

It is unlikely either officer would have survived the shootings, even if treated immediately, Dr. Parrott said.

The police division is investigating why it took 45 minutes from the first 911 call placed at 11:59 p.m. for anyone to respond to 23 W. Hollister St., the apartment where the officers were shot. The emergency calls apparently were confused with Mr. Davenport's suicide a few blocks away.

Mr. Davenport ran to a nearby park, placed the gun to the right side of his head, and fired. His autopsy shows there were no other injuries on his body.

Mr. Davenport's friends present at the time of the shooting - Marvin Jones, Angela Mills and a 14-year-old girl - tested negative for gun residue. Their statements about what they saw are part of the police division's criminal investigation.

Mr. Jones faces no criminal charges. He was the only one to stay in the apartment and call 911 after the shootings. The others ran from the apartment.

The 14-year-old will be sentenced next week in Juvenile Court on a juvenile charge of failing to report a crime.

Ms. Mills, 23, was charged with failing to report a crime, but prosecutors dropped the charge Wednesday.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters asked city prosecutors on Tuesday to dismiss the misdemeanor charge against her pending the outcome of the police investigation. He said he is not expecting a final report from police for at least five weeks.

''This is not an indication that she is going to face more serious charges, the same charges or any charges,'' Mr. Deters said. ''It's an indication of the fact that we haven't seen the report yet.''

He said he asked for the charge to be dismissed so Ms. Mills could not plead guilty to it, as she was expected to do Wednesday.

Had she pleaded guilty to a charge of failure to report a crime, prosecutors could have been precluded from seeking more serious charges - if warranted - because of jeopardy issues. Under the Constitution, a person cannot be prosecuted twice for the same act.

Lt. Tim Schoch, police spokesman, said he expects a preliminary report early next week that will tie information the coroner's office releases with what the police division is collecting.

That will begin to answer questions of exactly what happened and how well 911 operators and police responded, he said.

''Until the official report comes out, we're not going to speculate,'' he said.

Kristen DelGuzzi contributed to this report.