Crime Pensacola

Buzz: More on Shooting @ Buddy’s

December 27, 2011

Early evening on Friday, Dec. 23, Pensacola Police Officer Shawn Thompson shot Robert Donson outside the liquor store/club Tom Ann Buddy’s on Cervantes Street – near Pace Blvd. The IN has talked to witnesses, friends and family of Donson and has gotten a different picture of the events surrounding the shooting than what the daily newspaper has reported.

Thompson is a PPD officer who has a history of arrest problems. What was he doing raiding a crowded club with two other officers? No one at PPD or the City has told the public that the officers were part of some official drug bust. All three are reported to have been dressed in jackets and wearing ski masks. It’s uncertain whether the officers identified themselves as law enforcement when they jumped out of their vehicle.

We’ve been told that there was gambling (dice) at Buddy’s the previous night, but would that have prompted such stronghold tactics by PPD? If Thompson and others were on an official raid, why so few officers and why raid Buddy’s at 5:45 pm on a Friday?

Donson has an arrest record that began when he was 18, mostly cocaine and pot possession. He has spent time in state prison and county jail. He did hang with a group from the Fronteria Circle area. Thompson didn’t pull Donson out the club, but actually grabbed him outside. Donson did resist and fight the officers. We’ve been told that Donson was thrown to the ground and on top of the hood of a nearby car. At one point, two officers had both of his arms and were holding them in the air.

No one saw Donson with a gun. Family members and friends said that Donson didn’t own or carry a gun. Yet Thompson shot Donson in the stomach at close range. Later what witnesses have described as a very small handgun was found at the scene.

Donson was taken to Baptist Hospital and has been kept away from his family. Thompson is on administrative leave while FDLE investigates the shooting.

After shooting, the PDD struggled to maintain order at the crime scene. I received several calls that there was a near riot as the crowd -some of which had been drinking and smoking dope – became more agitated about the shooting. There was confusion as to who had been shot.

Buddy’s has a history of shootings. As one witness told me, everybody in the hood has a relative that was shot or killed at that place. Located behind Walgreen’s and within walking distance of Attacks Court and Morris Court, Buddy’s is where many in the surrounding neighborhoods got their first drink.

Area church leaders have long wanted the club shutdown but have gotten little support from elected officials–another failure on the parts of County Commissioner Marie Young, Council members John Jerralds and Ronald Townsend–and their predecessors Hugh King and Jewel Cannada-Wynn. None of them were there Friday night to help calm the crowd.

The irony is that if the Pensacola City Council of the past decade had truly implemented the West Side Development Plan that the City approved in 2007, then Buddy’s wouldn’t be in existence.

The Wiggins/Coby administration had the Victor Steen death. Now Mayor Ashton Mayor has this shooting. It will be interesting to see how his administration deals with it and with such crime hot spots as Buddy’s. Hayward has yet to speak publicly on the shooting.

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  • Teresa December 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    So..Has Donson been found?
    There is no way this was some sort of drug raid with just three officers. Ski mask? Shot at close range? I wonder what caliber the bullet was. Most cops carry 9mil. By the description of the gun found, it sounds like a 22. Did the officer pull his weapon or take Donson’s gun and it “accidentally” fired?

  • Dave December 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Everyone seemds to be jumping to conclusions here, with very minimal information.

    What are the “arrest problems’ that Thompson supposedly has. In 2009 he shot a person trying to run him over with a truck, (deadly force). In another incident, he was beaten on his head with his own flashlight, (deadly force), by a suspect. Unfortunately, his weapaon jammed and he was not able to shoot the suspect to stop the attack. In both cases Thompson’s use of deadly force was/would have been justified.

    Donson has a significant criminal history including felony convictions. He has been convicted of resisting arrest with violence and robbery, (which is the taking of someone else’s property with force or violence). He currently has felony charges pending against him. Donson is not a boy scout.

    I am not aware of all of the information surrounding the incident, but it is not uncommon for an arrest to be made with 2 or 3 officers. Not sure what the number of officers is supposed to indicate?

    As vice/narcotics officers work undercover, it is not uncommon or illegal for them to wear masks when making an arrest. It sounds like the officers were all wearing the same jackets which I would imagine had appropriate law enforement markings on them. They may have been attempting to arrest him for the cuurent felony charges he supposedly has against him, or he may have been involved in additional criminal activity that the PPD was investigating.

    As a convicted felon Donson could not own or carry a gun so it is unlikely he told anyone if he did have one. His family and friends would not be likley to admit if he did have one. Most people commiting crimes are not very forthcoming about their criminal activity.

    As for the events of the arrest, I was not there and do not have all the details so will not comment. Let’s wait for FDLE to complete their investigation and then come to a reasonable conclusion.

    Oh, very small handguns can kill just as big handguns can…

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • eric December 27, 2011 at 11:21 am

    The City and the Mayor have people to handle this area of govt duties, namely PPD. I don’t see how a call for the Mayor to do something about it is appropriate, yet.

    Also, there are no voters with money at that Buddy’s so no photo ops for the Mayor. no Mayor there, so no Brian Spencer to snuggle up to Mayor for his picture to be taken with Mr. G Q.

  • james December 27, 2011 at 10:33 am

    does anyone know if Thompson and the other 2 officers were on duty or off duty? When will FDLE release the results of their investigation? Where oh where are the PNJ watchdogs on this case? Put Deal Chicken on it for goodness sakes! Was snapping photos that night at Tom Ann Buddy’s? Perhaps they have the answers to these questions. Inquiring minds want to know!!!!

  • james December 27, 2011 at 8:04 am

    sniff sniff – something smells fishy

  • Adam Publis December 27, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Why didn’t you include Brian Spencer in the list of elected politicians, since his district includes several African-American neighborhoods.

    • Rick Outzen December 27, 2011 at 8:22 am

      Good point. I was focusing on the mayor and the veteran politicians. We should also include the At-Large Council members – Sam Hall and Megan Pratt -who supposedly represent the entire city.