Sister of murder victim James Davis says he was her protector, reflects on his death

Published 1:52 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2018

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — James Christopher Davis was the glue that held his family together and a protector to his siblings and extended family, says his sister Tunisha Ewing.

Davis, an Albemarle native, was shot and killed last weekend, making him the second murder victim in the city of Salisbury this year.

“We don’t have that security anymore. Our protection is gone. He was the hold of our family, and that’s gone,” Ewing said Wednesday.

She said their mother is not the same person since Davis’ death.

“I’m not the same person anymore. His kids are torn apart because of this. His youngest daughter is 3, and she keeps asking for her dad. It’s painful for all of us,” she said.

The question that remains for the family is: Why?

On Tuesday, Salisbury Police Department investigators charged Dedric Michelle Mason, 42, of 150 Sunrise Ridge Drive, with second-degree murder in Davis’ death. Mason, a social worker, was arrested at her Salisbury home.

Police were called to Fishzilla Arcade, 1812 E. Innes St., about 1:15 a.m. Saturday. Investigators found Davis, 45, with a gunshot wound to the chest.

The Albemarle businessman was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about 3:20 a.m.

Salisbury police detectives questioned Mason and witnesses. After a consultation with Rowan District Attorney Brandy Cook, charges were filed against Mason.

Mason appeared before a Rowan County magistrate on Tuesday afternoon and was issued a $50,000 secured bond. She posted her bond the same day.

Ewing said she believes her brother was defending himself and trying to “get away from that situation.”

She alluded to an altercation inside the arcade but said her brother wouldn’t have hurt anyone. Police officials have not confirmed what happened inside the business.

“He defended himself. He did not deserve this. There were other ways to get around that situation,” Ewing said.

She said her brother’s girlfriend called their mother the night of the shooting. Ewing said she was told to go at the hospital because her brother had been shot.

Ewing said when family members first arrived at the hospital, her brother’s girlfriend met them outside. The girlfriend told them “bits and pieces,” but Ewing said her family still did not know how serious his injuries were.

“She watched him get shot. She was there the whole time,” Ewing said.

They were told Davis had been shot in the chest and so they waited. Hospital officials finally told them what they’d feared — Davis had died.

Ewing said she knows of Dedric Mason and recalls seeing her at the arcade business a few times.

James Davis is the only brother among five sisters. He lived in Salisbury but owned a detailing business in Albemarle and cut hair as a side job, his sister said.

He had worked at Fishzilla for about two or three months, she said.

Ewing said he was her protector.

“My dad was not around, so he helped raise me. He took in people that he didn’t know,” Ewing said.

She recalled a time when her brother helped an elderly woman take her groceries to the car. She’s also been approached by single and widowed women who said her brother would mow their lawns and checked on them regularly.

He assisted family members who were escaping domestic violence situations with money and food.

Davis, who gained the nickname Milkbone as a young boy, had a love of basketball and football because his son and nephew played those sports.

He is the father of seven children. The oldest is 26 and the youngest, 3.

Dedric Mason is scheduled for a first court appearance Thursday.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.