- The Washington Times - Friday, January 25, 2002

Wayne Anthony Davis has changed in appearance since Prince George's County police began looking for him more than 13 years ago. Now 36 years old, he wears a beard and mustache, is married and has three children.

On Tuesday, two county police officers accompanied a Jamaican Fugitive Apprehension Team who arrested Mr. Davis in the little mountain community of Smithville in Jamaica on charges of assault with intent to murder Prince George's police Officer Howard L. Norris III.

The charges stem from an incident on Sept. 3, 1988, in Hyattsville. Mr. Davis was a clean-shaven 22-year-old. That night, he was with three brothers in a rental car. After the incident, in which Mr. Norris was shot three times, Mr. Davis disappeared.

Heading the search was Sgt. George Swope, then working in the repeat-offenders warrant division. Sgt. Swope, now a police veteran of 25 years, persisted in the search after he was transferred to the homicide division.

"He's just been relentless," said Detective Chris Brophy, who with Detective Mike Butler closed the case in Jamaica. "Swope's always been the one who worked the case."

After the arrest of Mr. Davis, Sgt. Swope called Mr. Norris, who had retired soon after the shooting.

"He was pretty elated, as you can imagine," Detective Brophy said.

Sgt. Norris, then 27, was shot three times that night. He suspected a car was stolen and stopped it in an area of Hyattsville known for drug dealing. As he walked to the driver's side, a passenger in the back fired a pistol, said Detective Brophy.

The bullet hit Sgt. Norris in his hand, and he was unable to use his pistol. The officer turned and ran. The passenger, later identified as Mr. Davis, followed and shot him twice more, in the back and the leg, Detective Brophy said.

The other passengers also fled on foot. Police soon learned the car was rented, traced the renter and learned identities of the passengers. They learned that Mr. Davis had been born in Jamaica and came to America when he was 14. But the first leads indicated the fugitive did not go back to his homeland.

"We had suspicions that he may have been in England," Detective Brophy said. Then he was thought to be in Canada, but "all leads were tracked down and turned up nothing."

About 18 months ago, for the anniversary of the shooting, the TV show "America's Most Wanted" ran a 20-second blurb about Mr. Davis. Prince George's County Police got a call that Mr. Davis was in Jamaica. But the address they had for him was wrong.

Continuing to work with U.S. marshals there and the Jamaican Fugitive Apprehension Team, investigators learned that Mr. Davis apparently had no steady employment and worked at "odds and ends." They traced him to his mountain home, Detective Brophy said.

"He was very surprised" when arrested, Detective Brophy said, and he made no resistance.

Mr. Davis is being held in Kingston, Jamaica, awaiting extradition, which may take a while. Extradition involves "a nightmare of paperwork," the officer said.

But police can be patient awhile longer, and they say they believe they have a strong case.

If convicted, Mr. Davis could be sentenced to 20 years in prison. If he is convicted, the tipster who called Crimesolvers will be rewarded with $1,000.


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