After a lengthy chase, police arrested the man accused of murdering his ex-wife in a Christmas Eve shooting that also critically wounded her son.
No one was injured in the chase, which began at about 11:15 a.m. at a residence in Midland and ended on Fourth Street and Adams Avenue at about noon in Odessa, according to city spokesperson Andrea Goodson. But there were reports that the suspect, 55-year-old L.C. Davis Jr., shot at officers as he fled at a high speed westbound on Interstate 20.
Davis is accused of shooting his 50-year-old ex-wife Venesta Davis and her 20-year-old son, Andrew Darius Thurman, who remained in critical condition Wednesday at Medical Center Hospital. The mother and son were driving an unspecified vehicle at 9:26 p.m. on Christmas Eve in the 300 block of South Dixie Boulevard, according to police reports, when L.C. Davis Jr. shot and killed Venesta Davis and then ran up to Thurman and shot him. Thurman is not his son.
Prior to the Monday homicide, L.C. Davis Jr. had a long criminal record that included a prison sentence for violence against women, according to public documents.
The search for L.C. Davis Jr. began at about 8 a.m. Wednesday morning as Odessa police officers investigated report of a stolen Chevrolet Impala at Spanish Oaks Apartments in the 2100 block of East 10th Street, Goodson said. Investigators spotted L.C. Davis Jr.’s Chevrolet Avalanche at the scene.
Goodson said Odessa investigators learned L.C. Davis Jr. might have taken the car to Midland and asked officers of the Midland Police Department to look for the vehicle.
An MPD officer spotted the Impala near East Front Street and Orchard Lane and stopped the car, according to an MPD news release. When the officer told L.C. Davis Jr. to place his hands outside the window, he drove off. The suspect fled westbound on Interstate 20 at speeds ranging from 20 to 100 mph, the release stated. Several law enforcement agencies joined in the chase and would share the investigation, which could lead to additional charges, Goodson said: DPS, MPD, the Odessa Police Department, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office and the US Marshals.
MPD officers deployed spike strips at I-20 and Loop 250 that flattened the front left tire of the Impala but did not stop the chase. DPS troopers, according to scanner traffic, attempted to shoot out other tires and bullet holes were visible on the left side of the Impala. The chase continued through downtown Odessa.
“We are very, very fortunate,” Goodson said.
Officers remained investigating at Fourth Street and Adams Avenue Wednesday afternoon. Goodson said they found a handgun in the Impala.
Two of Venesta Davis’ co-workers at the Subway on Eighth Street came to the scene after they heard her suspected killer had been caught.
“She was a lovely lady, very happy even though she had problems,” said her general manager at, Yvonne Hernandez. Hernandez said Thurman applied to work with his mom at Subway a few weeks ago and seemed like a nice young man.
Hernandez said Venesta Davis mentioned trouble with her husband at home. She didn’t talk about them in depth, Hernandez said, but mentioned she was seeking a restraining order.
“We know she had been trying,” Hernandez said.
In 1983, L.C. Davis Jr. was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, court documents show. The indictment from that case stated he beat a woman “with his hands and feet” and threatened her with a handgun. He was sentenced to 10 years of probation.
But L.C. Davis Jr. would violate that probation in November of 1988 when he shot a woman with a handgun in Tarrant County, attempting to murder her, according to the motion to revoke his probation. His punishment was a 10-year prison sentence, which the Eighth District Court of Appeals upheld in 1990.
Recent jail records show L.C. Davis Jr. was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a family member, assault with intent to choke a family member and misdemeanor resisting arrest. He was released from the Ector County Detention Center Dec. 9 on bonds totaling $77,500.
Details about that case were not immediately available Wednesday.
Police not publicly discussed a possible motive for the Monday slaying. Public driver’s license records list the suspect and the two victims as living at 212 Patterson Ave. — less than a mile from the scene of the shooting. But it was unclear Wednesday whether that information was current.
A next-door neighbor, Marcus Hudgins, said Tuesday he heard screaming matches between the Davises that worsened over the last year. The couple applied to marry on June 18, 2010, according to a notice published afterwards in the Odessa American.
Hudgins described Venesta Davis as a nice woman who worked in the restaurant industry. He said they grew up in Odessa at the same time, but he never got to know her well on a personal level. As neighbors, their interactions were polite, he said, and he tried not to involve himself in the couples’ fights, worried that their conflict and potentially violence might spill over to his family.
“It was just a mess,” Hudgins said. “A mess that led up to that. On Christmas Eve too.”