Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The person who killed a Maine man on a highway in a rural part of Pennsylvania on Saturday could strike again, authorities said Tuesday as the search for the killer continued.
On Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, northbound vehicles on Interstate 81 pass the site in the median where Timothy "Atsi" Davison of Poland, Maine, was shot to death in a random act of violence early Saturday, Jan. 4, in south-central Pennsylvania near the Maryland state line. Davison had called 911 in Maryland and again when he crossed into Pennsylvania to say that he was being pursued and shot at by someone in a small, dark-colored pickup truck. Davison was on his way home from visiting his sister in Orlando, Fla., when he was shot. (Photo: Jenn Fitch/The Herald-Mail)
“The potential for additional incidents of similar nature is anticipated due to the violent nature of this incident,” said a joint task force of local, state and federal agents in a prepared statement.
Timothy Davison, 28, of Poland was driving north on Interstate 81 near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border early Saturday morning when he called 911 and said he was being chased and shot at by someone in a dark-colored pickup truck.
A few minutes later, the pickup’s driver ran Davison off the road and someone in the truck shot him multiple times, including in the head. Davison was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In the statement, which Pennsylvania authorities distributed after canceling a planned press conference Tuesday morning, the task force said it is investigating a possible connection between Davison’s killing and a shooting eight hours earlier about 30 miles away in Monaghan Township, Pa.
The victim, who was not injured, told police that the driver of a black Nissan pickup truck fired at him.
“While there are many similarities between the two, conclusive evidence definitively connecting the two has yet to be established,” the statement said. “Both investigations will be treated as being related until conclusive evidence proves otherwise.”
The statement announced the formation of a task force to investigate the shootings, including Pennsylvania and Maryland state police, the Carroll Township Police Department and the FBI.
“The acts committed against Mr. Davison were random only to the point of his initial encounter with his assailant,” said Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI in a prepared statement. “Beyond that, the acts against him were deliberate, calculated, and violent.”
Police have characterized Davison’s killing as an act of road rage. Leon James, a psychology professor at the University of Hawaii who has studied the psychology behind road rage, said Tuesday that he agrees with that assessment.
He said a road rage incident is any confrontation that occurs on a road between people who don’t know each other. But he called this case uncommon, characterizing the suspect as a “vigilante road rager.”
“Such a person is mentally disturbed and is driving under the influence of impaired emotions,” said James, who has written articles, testified before Congress and co-authored a book, “Road Rage and Aggressive Driving.”
“This person feels he is justified in clearing the road of dangerous and stupid drivers,” James said, “which means he could very well strike again.”
James said many drivers think that other drivers “need to be taught a lesson,” but it is rare for such thoughts to lead to extreme violence.
“Road ragers are ruminating. They talk to themselves and often fantasize about what needs to be done in order to teach other drivers a lesson,” James said.
Davison was on his way home from visiting his sister in Orlando, Fla., when he was shot. He made at least two calls to 911 before he was killed, first to Maryland emergency dispatchers. That call was dropped when he crossed into Pennsylvania.
His second call was handled by a dispatcher in Pennsylvania. The Portland Press Herald has requested copies of the transcripts of Davison’s calls.
Maryland State Police denied the request on Tuesday. Lt. Michael Fluharty said “the information contained (in the recording) may compromise the investigation at this time.”
Pennsylvania State Trooper Robert Hicks said the newspaper’s request to that state likely will be denied, but he gave some indication of the content of the tapes.
“There is stuff in the call – you know – aggressive driving, on the suspect’s part,” Hicks said.
He said that in the moments before he was killed, Davison told authorities that the truck following him was dark-colored and possibly a Ford Ranger.
SHOOTER AT LARGE
The Maryland state trooper who was first on the scene of the shooting found Davison shot multiple times, including in the head, and called immediately for a helicopter to fly him to a hospital, according to tapes of communications between police.
The radio transmissions between dispatchers and state troopers in Maryland and Pennsylvania were first described by PennLive.com, the website for the Patriot News in Harrisburg, Pa.
The recordings, culled from the subscription website RadioReference.com, indicate that troopers recognized almost immediately that Davison’s injuries were not self-inflicted, and that the shooter was at large.
According to the recordings, Davison made his first call to 911 about 2:10 a.m., shortly before he crossed the Pennsylvania border, to report that he was being chased and shot at by the driver of a pickup truck.
Soon after, Davison’s sport utility vehicle was forced into the median by the driver of the pickup truck, coming to a stop about three miles over the Pennsylvania border in Antrim Township.
Twelve minutes later, a dispatcher asked for paramedics to “expedite to the scene.”
The highway was closed to traffic a few minutes later. At 2:37 a.m., a dispatcher said “there is still an active shooter in the area,” and “this is not a self-inflicted shot,” PennLive.com reported Tuesday.
Police have not disclosed how many shots were fired or what type of gun was used.
An autopsy on Davison was scheduled Monday at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown, Pa. Results have not been released.
Davison’s funeral will be held Saturday.
Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this story.
Staff Writer Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at: