Police report: 2 children in Bay County apartment when mother was shot, killer shot dead by deputies

BANGOR TWP, MI — When police entered an apartment in Bangor Township in response to a reported shooting one summer morning, they encountered two young children inside. Elsewhere in the unit, their 27-year-old mother lay dead from gunshot wounds.

As Bay County sheriff’s deputies walked through the house, the mother’s suspected killer came out of a bedroom and pointed a gun at the deputies. After repeatedly telling him to drop the gun, a deputy shot the man, later identified as an 18-year-old Midland resident.

While details of how the two homicides unfolded were recently released, what remains unknown is what precipitated them or what the killer’s motivation was.

On October 18, Michigan State Police responded to a Freedom of Information Act request from MLive-The Bay City Times by providing 77 pages of police reports related to the August homicides of Bethany K. Taylor and his killer, Lamar A. Davis. Portions of the reports are redacted, but an account of what happened can still be discerned.

Reports say the Bay County Central Dispatch received a 911 call around 3:25 a.m. on August 28 from a man claiming a shooting had just occurred at 23 Orford Court, a two-story apartment in Bangor Downs Townhouses, 3325 Alarie Drive in Bangor Township. .

The man later told investigators that he babysat Taylor’s two sons on August 27 and that Taylor allowed him to stay overnight rather than drive him home to Saginaw. The man woke up around 1 a.m. the next day and noticed that Davis was now present.

Bethany K. Taylor

The witness said he did not know Davis, having never seen him before.

Two hours later, the babysitter was in the kitchen while Taylor and Davis were in a bedroom. He heard a gunshot in the bedroom and dropped to the floor for cover.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s 2- and 3-year-old sons slept on a couch in the living room.

After a minute or two, the babysitter heard a second shot. The babysitter then grabbed at least one of Taylor’s sons and held him as a shirtless Davis emerged from the bedroom, clutching a gun.

The witness “believed the only reason he wasn’t shot was that he was holding” the child, according to reports.

Davis briefly went into the kitchen and appeared to be looking for something, then returned to Taylor’s bedroom, the babysitter said. The babysitter then ran out of the apartment, going to the nearest neighboring unit with lights on to call for help. Taylor’s children were left in their mother’s apartment.

Deputies and MSP soldiers intervened on the scene and erected a perimeter. Believing that an injured Taylor and her children were still inside, four deputies entered the apartment through a sliding door, announcing their presence.

Deputies spotted one of Taylor’s sons on the couch, then saw Davis in a hallway, still armed with a gun. The deputies took a few steps back toward the kitchen, trying to hide.

Davis returned to the chamber as deputies yelled at him to drop the gun and surrender.

“As [a deputy] I continued to order the subject out, heard the distinct sound of a revolver hammer making contact with the frame three times…click…click…click,” a deputy wrote.

Lamar A. Davis

Lamar A. Davis, killed at age 18 by a Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy after Davis allegedly shot 27-year-old Bethany K. Taylor in her Bangor Township apartment on August 28, 2022.

Davis did not respond to orders from deputies. He finally walked out of the bedroom and pointed the gun at Deputy Christopher VanHorn. VanHorn began to back away and yelled at his co-workers that Davis was pointing a gun at him.

VanHorn fired his patrol rifle, took a step back, again told Davis to drop the gun, then fired his rifle again. Davis fell to the floor in the bedroom doorway.

Deputies moved forward and moved Davis from the doorway, handcuffed him, and began providing medical attention. They also found Taylor dead in her bedroom, her other son in the bedroom with her.

Davis was taken by ambulance to the McLaren Bay area hospital, where a doctor pronounced him dead at 4:34 a.m.

Deputies removed Taylor’s children unharmed from the apartment, with other parents arriving to collect them.

Witnesses later interviewed by investigators described Taylor and Davis as having previously dated, although they have since broken up. Davis’ mother told police – and later MLive – she was unaware of Taylor’s existence before the shooting, other than her other son telling her Taylor had recovered Davis to his Midland home to take him to a grocery store on August 27.

The MSP’s Third District Special Investigations Section conducted the investigation into the case. VanHorn was placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation was ongoing.

After their investigation was completed, detectives sent their findings to Bay County District Attorney Nancy E. Borushko for review. Borushko ruled that VanHorn was justified in shooting Davis.

On October 3, VanHorn resumed normal highway patrol duties.

The number of times Taylor and Davis were shot, and where they were physically beaten, are redacted from the reports. The reports also do not state exactly how many rounds VanHorn fired or where the revolver used by Davis came from.

Toxicology reports were not included in the reports, with police writing that a medical examiner told them those reports were unlikely to be finalized until December.

Lamar Davis is graduating from Midland High School in 2021. His mother said he was not known to be violent, but had a rather soft voice and was reserved to himself.

Taylor “was a loving mother to two wonderful boys and always had a bright smile on everyone she met”, his obituary States. “Bethany loved everything about makeup, beauty and fashion, including her work at Cato.”

Taylor was also an avid reader who shared her love of books with her sons, especially enjoying taking them to the library.

“Beth loved people and was a devoted friend to many,” her obituary continues. “She was always happy to celebrate and share her bubbly personality and passion for life with the people around her.”

Read more:

Prosecutor Rules Bay County Sheriff’s Deputy Homicide Killing Suspects Justified Shooting

‘Two families are hurting and no one knows why,’ says mother of teenage homicide suspect killed by police

Police release names of Bay County homicide victim and suspect killed by deputy

Police release additional details of Bay County homicide and murder of suspect

Deputies kill suspect while investigating Bay County homicide

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