Dispute Lingers
Dispute lingers in shooting

Results of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into the traffic-stop death of David Willis last August prompted a Chatham County grand jury not to indict the patrolman who shot Willis, but both sides of the case remain fiercely opposed on its critical points.

Officer Kevin McKoon will not face criminal charges in the case, presented Wednesday by Assistant District Attorney David Lock to a Chatham County grand jury.

After a half-year investigation, the data from the crash box in Willis’s Pontiac indicates the car lurched forward before McKoon fatally shot Willis through the windshield.

Willis representatives, however, contend that by the time McKoon fired the shots, the sedan was disabled and the victim had his hands up, surrendering.

“Everything went the way we thought it was going to go,” said Attorney Donald Lee Montgomery Jr., who is representing McKoon. “We’re very happy with the GBI’s investigation – independent of the police department, which is what you want in a situation like this.”

Willis died from two gunshots fired by McKoon, who had jumped out of an unmarked police SUV after he collided with the Pontiac at Laurel and Zubly streets, according to the GBI. Another officer, driving a marked police SUV, had initiated the traffic stop after observing “suspicious activity” and an improper tag at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Oglethorpe Avenue.

“The evidence supports officers’ statements of vehicle intentionally moving after collision,” the report stated in a PowerPoint presentation at Wednesday’s hourlong proceeding.

The presentation states elsewhere that a Georgia State Patrol trooper “concluded that the suspect vehicle travelled forward after impact and consistent with the statements by the officers involved.”

The crash-data numbers reveal that Willis’s car – during the five seconds prior to its air bag deploying – accelerated from zero to 11 mph and increased from 576 to 2752 rpm’s. The Pontiac’s throttle percentage jumped from 5 to a peak of 98 during the five-second span, police investigators found.

Toxicology results revealed Willis had MDMA (Ecstasy) in his blood system.

The GBI presentation provided to the Savannah Morning News also showed Willis died of two shots – one round was lodged in the left jaw area and another in his right arm.

Private investigator Bob Cannon, who has worked with the Willis family since the incident, said Thursday the nature of the wounds and the witness statements indicated Willis’s hands were up at the time.

Moreover, Cannon said there was no improper tag on the Pontiac – thus, no cause for the initial traffic stop.

“No blue lights, no sirens – nothing,” Cannon said, referring to the umarked SUV. “(Willis) had stopped, and he made an evasive maneuver to avoid being struck head-on. They were then struck, disabling the right front wheel. That vehicle can’t proceed anywhere without a wheel.”

Willis family Attorney Lennie Darden previously said the airbags, which emitted a powder, put the unarmed occupants, who included Willis’s 5-month-old daughter and pregnant girlfriend, in a state of confusion.

On Thursday, he said the family has been refused access to essential evidence – particularly the vehicles involved and a full autopsy report.

“The two vehicles collide, and the shooter comes out of the vehicle positioned at a certain place,” Darden said, “and we’re trying to determine what position that was.

“And the parents have never been privy to a copy of the autopsy.”

Lack of communication from city officials was the No. 1 complaint late Thursday by Willis’s aunt, Herberta Wilson.

“We are very dissatisfied with the way this was handled,” Wilson said in a telephone interview. “Nobody from the mayor’s office and nobody from the police department has spoken to us.

“We are hurt and distraught and outraged.”

McKoon, a two-year veteran with one verbal reprimand on his record, has yet not returned to full patrol duties.

“The administrative process is still under way,” said metro police spokesman Sgt. Mike Wilson. “Final disposition in the internal affairs investigation is not complete, and (McKoon) remains on a limited-duty status.”

Wilson said all investigative findings will be forwarded to Police Chief Michael Berkow’s office for final disposition.

Meanwhile, bad luck has followed McKoon the past seven months.

In a Dec. 27 fire at a downtown Savannah home, neighbors identified McKoon as the boyfriend of a displaced tenant in the building. McKoon was at the scene of the fire, at Abercorn and East Waldburg streets, working in plain clothes to get house pets away from the flames.

Then, on March 6, McKoon reported that several guns – including his duty weapon – as well as a ballistic vest, a Rolex watch and about $300 were taken from his home, according to a metro police report.

No suspect has been identified in the burglary, Montgomery said Thursday.

Victim’s family says shooting not justified
Intown | Latest News
Adam Crisp | Monday, August 20, 2007 at 09:27 am
Family and friends of the man shot and killed by a Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department officer Saturday are saying their loved one, David Willis, 22, was an unarmed victim who posed no threat to police.
The victim’s mother, Cynthia Willis, along with two passengers in the vehicle, held a press conference at 50th Street Church of Christ Sunday evening.
They want police to meet with them to discuss their concerns over what they consider an “unjustified” shooting.
“There was no way the vehicle could have moved,” said Linnie Darden, a Hinesville attorney representing the family. “It’s difficult to see how the officer could have been in fear of his life.”
Police said they tried to stop Willis on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. around 3:40 a.m. Saturday. He turned onto Zubly Street. There, a marked police cruiser pulled in from behind the car and an unmarked undercover sport utility vehicle pulled in front.
Willis tried to move his vehicle when the SUV came down the street and that’s when the vehicles hit. The police cruiser blocked the driver’s side door as the SUV was touching a small portion of the front of vehicle.
Two plainclothes officers got out of the SUV, guns and badges drawn, and according to police Willis tried to move his vehicle a second time and that’s when Patrolman Kevin McCook fired twice through the windshield
At least on bullet struck Willis in the neck, according to a preliminary police report.
Read tomorrow’s Savannah Morning News for more details on the shooting and additional comments from the family.


Praise Our God Christ Jesus the Lord of whom I am His servant as well as yours.

Family Speaks Out about Police Shooting

David Willis’s family said he was a young father who was getting ready to start school at Savannah Tech.

David Willis’s mother, Cynthia (right), sits with family and friends, holding a picture of her children

One day after a 22 year old Savannah man was shot and killed by a police officer, his family is going public. Savannah Chatham Police said Patrolman Kevin McKoon shot David Willis early Saturday morning when Willis tried to run him over during a traffic stop at Zubly and Laurel Streets. Willis’s mother said she had to learn what happened to her son from his friends. Now, she’s demanding answers.
“I would love to see the man who shot down my child and ask him, why?” she said.
Cynthia Willis has only begun to grieve for her son, a young father who was getting ready to start school at Savannah Tech. She says she still hasn’t been able to see his body.
“Give me some answers,” she said. “Why did he shoot him? Why I couldn’t see my child? Why I couldn’t touch my child?”
Willis said she should have learned what happened from police, not her son’s friends once they were released from police questioning.
“I begged. I pleaded,” said Cynthia Willis. “I just wanted to see him. Why someone couldn’t call me and say, make it to Savannah, Ms. Willis. We need to talk to you.”
The family said they had to call police themselves, then wait for someone to speak with them. Detectives are sending David Willis’s body to the crime lab for an autopsy. Police say they won’t release it before then. While their investigation moves on, the Willis family says they can’t.
“Everything is on hold right now,” said Herberta Wilson, David Willis’s aunt. “We have not seen his body and we would very much like to. We’d like to see the car. We’d like some answers.”
The family said they can’t even conduct their own investigation. They said the crime scene was cleaned up before they even got there.
“I’m angry and I want some answers,” said Cynthia Willis.
Savannah Chatham Police are calling the shooting, “unfortunate, but lawful.” Patrolman Kevin McKoon is on paid leave, which is standard police procedure, while detectives, the GBI and the District Attorney’s office investigate.
Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com


The One who Sees says:

What eyewitnesses say, is that the brother was pursued for a traffic violation and refused to stop. The statements about the deceased attempting to run over the law officer, are ludicrous in light of the fact that the air bags of the vehicle had deployed, thereby DISABLING the vehicle.

Furthermore the scene was washed down, and only after that did the GBI want to do their CSI investigation. Akin to the gunning down of the brother in New York earlier this year, this guy was shot throught the windshield, with people all around near a government project. HOW MUCH INTIMIDATION DOES IT TAKE. This is the whipping boy scenario. All who see this are warned, the same thing can happen to them.

The white officer, McKoon is on leave with pay. As I understand another police killing occured in May of this Year, this was a black cop and justice was meted out swiftly for this law officer. That is UNEQUAL JUSTICE! And it is also State-side terrorism, and the government is its sponsor.