Editor’s Note: News director Steve Bray responds to the influx of comments on this story
Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers go out to Officer Renn’s family and friends during this extremely difficult time. A brave husband, friend and hero lost his life in another senseless crime. We have seen way too many lives lost to violence in Indianapolis, but it is even more heart wrenching to see someone who answered the call every day to protect us. We also extend our sympathy to the IMPD family and offer thanks to those who continue to stand on the Thin Blue Line.
We have received numerous comments about a story we covered on Sunday involving the family of Major Davis Jr., the accused killer of Officer Renn. As a news organization, we provide balanced coverage and both sides of the story. Our obligation to you is to cover every angle of a story. That obligation unfortunately, at times, includes uncomfortable subjects or comments that are difficult to hear, or even make you angry. And while we are journalists, everyone on our staff is human as well and we have similar reactions. So these are situations we take very seriously.
By showing the other side, you were able to get the answer to “why someone would do this?” We wanted to give insight into the mind of the people/family who were involved so there was some context and exposure for you into this world. For some, maybe it’s a world you are already familiar with; for others it may be something you cannot even comprehend. It was difficult for many of us to watch and understand mostly for the reporter who did the story. Her father is a veteran of IMPD.
This story was just a small part of our complete coverage, with the vast majority honoring the fallen officer for his service. We will continue to do so this week as he is laid to rest. Again, we honor him for his dedication to duty and we hope you understand the tough choices we have to make in doing ours. Like our viewers, we want justice to be served.
News Director, WISH-TV 24-Hour News 8
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The family of Major Davis Jr., the man accused of killing Officer Perry Renn, is speaking out about the shooting. His aunt, cousins and his children’s grandmother all talked to 24-Hour News 8 on Sunday afternoon.
The family is still struggling to accept that Davis Jr. could be a part of something like this. He is a father with four children, ages 10 and under. His family has had a long, tense history with Indianapolis police officers.
“You don’t know what he been through with IMPD. We do. He’s scarred for life,” said his children’s grandmother, Pam Moornan.
The Davis family’s history with police began with Major Davis Sr. He served at least three years on a drug conviction and was arrested again in 2003 for public intoxication.
He died of a heart attack in police custody when Davis Jr. was a young teen. Though the coroner’s report said the officers weren’t at fault for any fatal injuries, the family still holds officers responsible.
“He wasn’t a bad person. His father was killed by IMPD. That is enough to hurt a person and scar him for life,” said Moornan.
One of the officers listed in that 2003 police report is Officer Perry Renn.
“I imagine he figured they were going to try and kill him. I mean cause look what they did to his father,” said Moornan.
On Saturday night, the family says they were having a cookout.
“Next thing, I just heard shots and everybody running in the house and everybody hit the floor,” said Yvonne Moornan, Davis Jr.’s aunt.
By the time they got outside, they realized those shots were Davis Jr. and Officer Renn shooting at each other. Davis had an assault rifle.
“Major is not a bad person in spite of what happened. Things happen, ” said Pam Moornan.
Now, the Davis family is worried about their son’s reputation and again, questioning police tactics.
“It’s horrible about what took place, but, I mean, I don’t think it’s fair though for them to keep dragging him through the mud,” said Moornan.
And again, questioning police tactics.
“I don’t know how the police was shooting. I don’t know if they took concern of any kids running around,” said Yvonne Moornan.
The family did say it is sorry for Officer Renn’s family, but they said the tragedy may have been avoided if Officer Renn would’ve stayed at his car since he could see Davis had a gun.