Garner Cleveland Record

NAACP investigating fatal Garner shooting

Greenbrier Apartments is off Spring Drive across the street from Garner Magnet High School.
Greenbrier Apartments is off Spring Drive across the street from Garner Magnet High School.

The Raleigh-Apex branch of the NAACP is looking into the Nov. 6 case in which one man shot and killed another in defense of his female neighbor, who was stabbed multiple times.

“Our legal redress team met today and decided that we will investigate this incident,” Rev. Portia Rochelle, president of the local NAACP, said by email Thursday.

Residents of the Greenbrier Apartment Complex on Spring Drive awoke to the sounds of screaming and gunshots that Sunday morning.

Garner police said there was an altercation between Randolph Davidson, 32, and Kellie Jacobs Harris, 26, who were said to be in a relationship. Police said Davidson, a black man, stabbed Harris multiple times with multiple knives before Harris’ neighbor Kyle Jensen, 26, confronted Davidson and ultimately shot him twice in his upper body.

Harris was treated for life-threatening injuries and has since been released from WakeMed.

Police said their investigation found no basis to charge Jensen, who is white. They have described his involvement as heroic.

“Some people act, some people watch,” said Garner Lt. Lorie Smith. “This man chose to act, and during the time that (Davidson) was actively stabbing this female victim, (Jensen) challenged him and tried to get him to stop, and when he didn’t is when he fired his weapon.

“Had (Jensen) not taken action, we probably would have had a much different outcome that night.”

Rochelle and members of Davidson’s family met with Garner police Tuesday, Nov. 22.

“(The NAACP) came in to ask some questions and express some concerns,” said Garner Chief Brandon Zuidema. “So the sergeant from criminal investigations met with them along with the detective and attempted to answer some of their questions and some of the concerns they have about that.”

Family perspective

Davidson’s cousin, Chaplin Thomas, was among the family members attending the meeting with police. She was in town from Florida on a visit when the incident occurred and has remained in the area helping the family sort through its loss.

Thomas on Thursday said the family members were unsatisfied with the way police communicated information with them following the shooting, and said that prompted her to contact the NAACP.

“We wish the people who are charged with community policing you would say, ‘Here, I’ve dealt with people who have been involved in a family-member shooting before and here is (the information) that the people would want,’” Thomas said.

She expressed doubts about the official report by police, saying the family believes Harris was the agitator in the altercation.

Police, however, said the investigation showed otherwise.

“All indications are that (Davidson) started assaulting her and that (Harris) was stabbed multiple times inside and outside the apartment,” said Capt. Joe Binns.

Thomas also believes three shots were fired, as one witness reported hearing.

Smith, the police lieutenant, said everything in the investigation indicated the shooting was justified.

“We’re fact finders, primarily,” Smith said. “We collected the evidence at the scene, processed it, interviewed witnesses to the crime, took information we gathered from the medical examiner’s office from an autopsy.

“There’s no indication that any (law) is broken. We presented everything that we gathered and collected during the course of our investigation to the district attorney’s office, and the decision was made that no charges would be filed.”

Portrayals differ

Davidson had been convicted of assault on a female at least twice, and had two more charges dismissed without leave.

He was convicted on drug charges in 2003, for drunken driving in 2006, and for simple assault and driving with a revoked license in 2008. He had one case that was still pending in court.

But Thomas described her cousin as a kind soul, an educated man and the father of three daughters.

“We don’t think that this is just right, because Randy is not here to defend himself, and he could have been,” Thomas said. “He could have been left alive.

“Randy was important to us. He was a human being worth living and he’s not here anymore and that’s what’s not fair. The fact everyone is able to wash their hands of this and close the case is not right. It’s a travesty against humanity. Someone else has got to think this is wrong.”