State Attorney Bill Eddins has determined that the Dec. 23, 2011 shooting of Robert Donson at the Tom Ann Buddy’s, a liquor store and lounge on West Cervantes that’s owned by Buddy Markham, by a Pensacola Police Detective Shawn Thompson was justified.
The shooting, according to the report, occurred while PPD Narcotics investigators were conducting Operation Jump Out – aimed at street-level drug dealers and weapons offenders. Their strategy was to have five plain-clothes detectives in an unmarked car approach people in high-crime areas and “attempt to make citizen contact with the people present at a particular location.” Detectives wore vests with “POLICE” visible on front and back.
Donson was one of the citizens “contacted” at Buddy’s. Donson consented, according to the report, to a search. When Sgt. John Austin thought he felt a small-caliber gun during the pat-down, Donson got “immediately combative and attempting to pull his arms away to avoid being handcuffed and continuing to attempt to reach the gun in his pocket.”
“At some point, in fear that Donson was about to gain access to the firearm, Detective Thompson withdrew his Glock handgun and fired once, striking Donson in the abdomen.”
A 25-caliber pistol was located that Austin and Thompson said was on Donson. Subsequent DNA testing determined Donson was a “possible contributor to that DNA.” Thompson and Austin were ruled not to be contributors to the DNA.
Donson told FDLE that he blacked out when he as grabbed by the officers. He denied owning, possessing or having any knowledge of the gun.
The State Attorney’s Office concluded: “…Det. Thompson had a reasonable and imminent fear that Donson would gain control of the pistol and use that pistol against him or Sgt. Austin. Under these circumstances, the shot fired by Det. Thompson was justifiable.”