Suspect in IMPD officer's death pleads not guilty

Major Davis, Jr.
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The man accused of killing Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Perry Renn pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance Tuesday.

Major Davis, Jr. was taken into Marion Superior Court 2 Tuesday in a wheelchair and handcuffs. Marion County Superior Court Judge Grant Hawkins entered the preliminary not-guilty plea for Davis, who has been charged with murder.

The 25-year-old was discharged from the hospital Friday after recovering from gunshot wounds he suffered during the the July 5 gun battle with Renn and another officer. Witnesses say when officers ordered Davis to show his hands, he opened fire with a high-powered rifle that penetrated Renn's protective vest.

Renn passed away at the hospital. Emergency room doctors treated Davis and saved his life.

The suspect's family attended his initial hearing Tuesday morning and packed half of the courtroom. Renn's family, including his father, were also in the courtroom, getting his first look at the man accused of killing his son.

Officer Mark Decker with IMPD's East District also attended the hearing.

"As a brother we fight the same fight and we're always on the line. It is very upsetting that one of my family has been killed. He was murdered," Decker said. "I've taken several classes with him, went to the firing range with him. He was always a great guy, funny. He was always good to be around."

Davis' family stood in a circle and prayed just before the hearing began. Wearing a red jail uniform Tuesday, Davis was wheeled into court by jail deputies.

Judge Hawkins asked Davis if he had read and understood the charges that have been filed against him in the shooting death of Metro Officer Perry Renn. Davis replied, "no," so the judge granted a recess to give Davis and his attorney a chance to read the affidavit.

Once the hearing was back in session, Judge Hawkins asked Davis if he understood everything that was going on around him. Davis replied, "yes."

Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson read aloud the charges filed against Davis, and the judge explained Davis' rights to him as a defendant for both his hearing and the upcoming trial.

The judge entered a not-guilty plea on Davis' behalf and set a pre-trial hearing for September 3, 2014, at 1:30 pm.

The hearing only lasted 13 minutes.

"Anyone familiar with these kinds of cases knows that this will not be a quick or easy process through the courts and it will be a lengthy one," said Robinson.

A lengthy case fellow officers plan to follow closely, despite their grief. Although determined to do their job, police say they could use some encouragement from the people they've sworn to protect.

"We just need the community support. We need their kindness. We need them to come up and say 'Thank you.' It means a lot to us," Decker said.