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Officer John Downs Undergoes Surgery at Vanderbilt After Being Shot Sunday Night

12/15/2014

Officer John Downs, who was wounded Sunday evening outside 825 Long Hunter Court, underwent surgery today to begin repairing the damage from a gunshot to his leg near the groin.  He is in stable condition.  Additional surgeries are anticipated.

 The teenager who shot Downs, Xavier McDonald, 16, was fatally wounded by officers who returned his fire.
         
The police response to Long Hunter Court came during the investigation of a robbery that occurred Sunday afternoon.
         
Willian Majano, 31, called police from the Regions Bank parking lot at 115 Nashboro Boulevard to report that he had been robbed while on Long Hunter Court.  Majano retreated to the bank parking lot to call authorities.
         
Majano told officers that a woman he knew as “Jessica” sent him a text asking that he give her a ride.  Majano said that he had met “Jessica” a few months earlier and exchanged telephone numbers with her.  He said “Jessica” would contact him occasionally for transportation.  When Majano arrived on Long Hunter Court just after 3 p.m. Sunday, he said “Jessica” waved him into a parking spot near condo unit 825.  She got into his truck and began nervously texting.  As Majano put his vehicle into gear, “Jessica” asked him to wait for a moment.  At that point, Majano saw two young men approach.  Majano got out to confront them.  One of the men, subsequently identified as Xavier McDonald, put a gun to Majano’s midsection and demanded his belongings.  Mojano surrendered his cell phone.  As this was taking place, “Jessica” was going through the truck in search of valuables.  “Jessica” and the two men fled between condo buildings.  Majano caught up with “Jessica” and grabbed her, at which time one of the men fired shots in Majano’s direction.  He then fled the scene.
         
Based on the information provided by Majano, Hermitage Precinct officers responded to 825 Long Hunter Court to investigate the robbery.  Sergeant Michelle Jones initiated a rapport with a female tenant and went inside.  While there, Sergeant Jones saw robbery victim Majano’s ATM card in plain view on a table.  Sergeant Jones informed those visible in the residence, three women and two men, that officers were going to remain there until a search warrant could be obtained in relation to the robbery investigation.  She also called out a detective. 
         
Sergeant Jones persisted in wanting to know whether anyone else was in the condo.  The tenant replied that a person known as “Elk” (McDonald’s nickname) comes by from time to time.  The tenant told Sergeant Jones that “Elk” was crazy and has a gun, at that “he’s possibly in here right now with a gun.”  In lieu of a search warrant, the tenant decided to provide Sergeant Jones with written consent to search the premises.  Given all of the circumstances, Sergeant Jones requested assistance from the Special Response Team (SRT) in conducting the search of the condo.
         
While waiting for SRT, Sergeant Jones slightly opened a door to a restroom and discovered another person was inside the condo.  It was McDonald.  Sergeant Jones repeatedly over a period of several minutes asked McDonald to show her his hands and to come out of the restroom.  At one point he complied.  As Sergeant Jones was searching McDonald with the intent to handcuff him, she felt a bulge in his waistband.  McDonald then pulled away and barricaded himself in the restroom.  Sergeant Jones again implored McDonald to come out and surrender.  Amidst his expletives, McDonald said that he had recently been released from Woodland Hills Youth Development Center and did not want to return.  See an excerpt of Sgt. Jones' interview here.
         
Special Response Team officers arrived and took up positions outside and inside the residence as Sergeant Jones continued to talk with McDonald.  McDonald walked to the front door of the condo.  Lieutenant Spencer who was on McDonald’s left at the side of the porch, fired a Taser in an effort to bring McDonald into custody.  The Taser was ineffective.  McDonald fired his pistol in the direction of the Taser.  Officer Downs, who was with Lieutenant Spencer, was hit.  Lieutenant Spencer, Sergeant Brian Gottschall, Sergeant Robert Nielsen and Officer Brandon Vance fired on McDonald as he ran out the front door.  He was fatally wounded.
         
The .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol McDonald used was recovered near him.  One shell casing of the ammunition type McDonald used was found near the doorway.
         
Preliminary autopsy findings indicate that McDonald was hit three to four times in the torso.
         
Lieutenant Spencer, Sergeants Gottschall and Nielsen, and Officer Vance are on routine administrative assignment while the investigation continues.
         
At the time of Sunday night’s incident, McDonald was listed as a runaway by the police department.  His mother reported scuffling with him over a box of .40 caliber bullets on the night of December 7th.  She said he threatened to shoot her.  She also reported that he was carrying a gun in his waistband on the 7th, but did not draw it.

“Jessica,” the person who set up the robbery of Manjo, is identified as Jerica Taylor, 16.  She was one of the women inside 825 Long Hunter Court when officers arrived.  She has booked at Juvenile Court this morning on a charge of aggravated robbery. 
         
Taylor did the same type of crime in November 2013, when she set up a 23-year-old man to be robbed.  That individual was shot in the back during the robbery.  Taylor was charged with aggravated robbery at Juvenile Court in that case and was convicted. See News Conference here.

 

                                                           
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Jerica Taylor

Jerica Taylor, 16

Lt. Ken Spencer

Lieutenant Ken Spencer

Sergeant Brian Gotschall

Sergeant Brian Gottschall

Sgt Robert Nielson

Sergeant Robert Nielson

Officer Brandon Vance

Officer Brandon Vance