This week, we begin the show with the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, gunned down in a convenience store parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida. A 45-year-old white male, Michael Dunn, complained about Davis’ music being too loud. Dunn told police he told Davis and several of his friends in an SUV to turn down the music. Dunn says he saw the end of a barrel of a shotgun, felt threatened, grabbed his handgun and fired eight shots into the SUV and then drove away. Police did not find the weapon in the SUV Davis was in, and Davis was the only one who was hit by the bullets.
Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, Jordan Davis’ parents, and their attorney, John Phillips joined Roland Martin on Washington Watch to discuss the loss of their son.
MR. MARTIN: This week, we begin the show with the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, gunned down in a convenience store parking lot in Jacksonville, Florida. A 45-year-old white male, Michael Dunn, complained about Davis’ music being too loud. Dunn told police he told Davis and several of his friends in an SUV to turn down the music. Dunn says he saw the end of a barrel of a shotgun, felt threatened, grabbed his handgun and fired eight shots into the SUV and then drove away. Police did not find the weapon in the SUV Davis was in, and Davis was the only one who was hit by the bullets.
Joining me now from New York is Lucia McBath and Ron Davis, Jordan Davis’ parents, and their attorney, John Phillips.
First of all, I want to extend our condolences. I mean this is certainly a tragic, tragic story, and for you to lose your only child certainly has to be extremely difficult. And so, again, condolences to everyone here from TV One.
Before we get into the specifics of the –
MS. LUCIA MCBATH: Thank you.
MR. MARTIN: — case and things along those lines, Lucia and Ron, give us a sense of who Jordan was – 17 years old. What were his aspirations? What was it that he wanted to do in life?
MS. MCBATH: Jordan was a very, very happy, happy child. To many people, he was just the life of the party. He had a great sense of humor. He was excited every day. I remember he would say, “What are we doing today, Mom?” “Where are we going today, Mom?” Very anxious to see the world and to live. Just the thing that we hear over and over and over and over again from all of his friends and people that were affected him is that they always appreciated him. He was always smiling, always laughing, and he was a very sensitive child. And he could sense when you were hurting, or in pain, and he always was able to connect with that, and he would, in his own, little way, try to, you know, lift you.
MR. MARTIN: Now w- —
MR. RON DAVIS: He enjoyed basketball. He was a high school student at Wilson High School, and he also enjoyed music so much. I mean he always had his ear buds in. So, he was –
MS. MCBATH: [Chuckles.]
MR. DAVIS: — a big fan of all types of music.
MR. MARTIN: Ron, you live there in Jacksonville, Florida.
Lucia, you’re in Atlanta.
Ron, you got the phone call –
MS. MCBATH: Yes.
MR. MARTIN: — and then it was up to you –
MR. DAVIS: Yes.
MR. MARTIN: — to call Lucia to tell her what happened with your son. Describe that night for our viewers.
MR. DAVIS: When I got the phone call from a friend to come to the hospital, that Jordan had been shot, I had the longest, most excruciating drive of my life – my entire life, because knowing – at that time, you didn’t know whether he was alive or dead. And you just pray as you’re driving, and you pray that you don’t hit anybody on the road, because you’re crying, and you’re driving to the hospital.
And you get to the hospital, and it takes them over an hour to let me know anything about my son, because the HIPAA laws there – they have to make sure you’re the father, and they did[n’t] have any ID on Jordan. And so once I proved that I was Jordan’s father … they had the doctor come in. And when the doctor walked into the room to tell me about Jordan, he was followed by a chaplain and two officers, and my heart sank. And whenever the doctor comes in with a chaplain, you know it’s not going to be good. And the only two words I heard out of his mouth was about “couldn’t revive,” and it just broke my heart and tore me apart, and I really didn’t even hear the other words that came out of the doctor’s mouth. And the chaplain was crying also, and even the officers were crying.
And I had to drive home and make the calls. And then I called Lucy. I asked her to have Earl just come beside her, and she asked me, “Why do you have to talk to Earl?” – which is her cousin, who’s like a brother to her. And I just didn’t want her to hear this news by herself. I wanted somebody to be there with her.
And when I broke the news to her, we both just sobbed on the phone, and it was just a terrible experience.
MR. MARTIN: Lucia, we talked this week on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” and you said that you talked to Jordan about the Trayvon Martin case. Obviously, there’ve been parallels to that particular case and what has taken place with Jordan.
Can you tell our viewers about that – the conversations you guys had with regards to Trayvon Martin?
MS. MCBATH: You know, of course, Jordan was concerned because it put a … little bit of a sense of fear in him as well, and also he used to say, “Mom, why can’t everybody just get along?” Trayvon Martin’s case was pretty profound in his limited thinking because he just thought, “Mom,” you know, “he wasn’t doing anything. He wasn’t doing anything, and he was just attacked for no reason.” And, “Why are people,” you know, “lashing out? Why are people so afraid?” He kept saying, you know, “I don’t understand why people are so afraid.”
And it was something that was really hard for him to wrap his mind around, you know. That’s why … I reiterated to him again, you know, “Jordan, you just always have to be aware,” you know, “where you are, what you’re doing.” You know, “Don’t live in fear” –
MR. DAVIS: That’s right.
MS. MCBATH: — “but you still have to be aware of your surroundings,” and that’s just basically what we would talk about.
MR. MARTIN: John, you’re an attorney for the family, and obviously, the shooter – he has not invoked the “stand your ground” defense. That could come later. What exactly are you and the family doing right now to even counter that, to fight that and to fight this case?
MR. JOHN PHILLIPS: Right now – the arraignment is Monday, and yesterday the state, through a grand jury, got capital murder charges – murder one – premeditated murder as well as attempted murder of the other three individuals, and so it’s kind of a monitoring stage. You know, basically what I do is, you know, I’m there for the family to make sure everybody’s taking care of Jordan and Jordan’s legacy; but also, you know, I’m a wrongful death attorney. And there’s never been – I’ve practiced for over a decade. There’s never been a more wrongful death than this, and if society doesn’t learn that this isn’t a black-white thing anymore; this is the nature of where we are as a civilized or uncivilized society. And it’s, you know, making sure that the family is taken care of from, you know, all sides: civil, criminal and elsewhere.
MR. MARTIN: Ron, Lucia, final questions for you. Look, I pull into a gas station. I pull into a convenience store, and I’ve heard loud music playing. And if it’s rap music, and folks are cussing and stuff along those lines, and I have my nieces and nephews in the car, I mean obviously I roll the windows up. I don’t want to hear it.
But what would you say to this man, who got so ticked off because of loud music that he decided to go after them and then pull a gun out and fire eight shots into a vehicle and then drive off and later say he didn’t think anybody was hurt? What would you say to him?
MR. DAVIS: I would say that you, as you are now, you need to be in a controlled environment because, obviously, you want to control your environment. And for you to not, as you say, pull off – you’re at the gas station – roll your windows up, I think that you’re so bold … because you do have a concealed weapon. And you feel that when you have a concealed weapon, and you have the “stand your ground” statutes in Florida behind you, that people need to do what you want them to do. They need to move when you say move because you have a concealed weapon, and you have the law you think is behind you – which it isn’t in this case.
But people that have no respect for life, no respect for their community – you could’ve [hit] a gas tank. You’re in a gas station. You’re firing off eight or nine shots. Those type[s] of people – if you don’t have a respect for community, respect for families, respect for other human beings, then you need to be in a controlled environment and – such as you are now.
MR. MARTIN: Lucia, I’ll give you the final word.
MS. MCBATH: I would say that most definitely he will answer to God for this, and that he’ll have to deal with the lives of so many people that have been changed.
We have already begun to fight the “stand your ground” laws. If everyone will go on www.walkwithjordan.com … there they can begin signing the federal petition for us to take this to Washington to begin changing the laws.
MR. MARTIN: Lucia and Ron, we certainly thank you for joining us here on TV One’s “Washington Watch” – and, again, our prayers are with you and the family with the loss of your only child, Jordan. And, hopefully, folks will certainly wake up and recognize that, one, having a gun and gun violence doesn’t solve anything; and, two, you’re absolutely right. “Stand your ground” laws should be changed because folks should not be empowered to do the kind of things that we saw take place in this case.
Thank you so very much for joining us.
MR. DAVIS: Thank you.
MS. MCBATH: Thank you.
MR. PHILLIPS: Thank you.