It’s been more than a month since Timothy “Asti” Davison was shot after being run off a Pennsylvania interstate and police appear to be no closer to an arrest in the case.
But Davison’s mother is confident her son’s killer will eventually be caught.
“There’s a lot of people on this task force and a lot of resources,” said Theresa Allocca of Poland, who along with Davison’s father, Tim Davison of Raymond, met last week with those investigating the killing. “I left thinking they’re definitely going to catch this person.”
Timothy Davison, 28, of Poland, was killed at 2:10 a.m. on Jan. 4 as he was driving home to Maine after visiting family members in Florida.
Pennsylvania State Police on Thursday released a video showing Interstate 81 after Davison’s vehicle was run off the road. The video does not show Davison’s Mitsubishi Montero or the shooting itself, but does show a grainy image of the pickup pulling over close to where Davison’s car was stuck in the median, “just moments before the fatal shots were fired,” police said
Six seconds into the video, the suspect’s car enters the field of view from the left and passes slowly southward, with its right blinker on. The video, taken at 2:09 a.m. by a camera at the Mason Dixon Auto Auction alongside the highway, shows other vehicles passing by.
Davison’s parents watched the video and read the transcript of his complete 911 call, in which he describes being shot at as he drove almost 15 miles, from Maryland, near the West Virginia line, into Pennsylvania.
Allocca described it as two of the hardest things she’s ever done.
“When I was reading (the transcript) I could hear his voice, but he was calm through the whole thing,” she said. “At one point he even apologized for talking so fast. He said ‘I’m sorry. I’m kind of full of adrenaline at this point.’ He was talking to them right to the very end.”
“Honestly, watching the video right after that, knowing this guy (the suspect) is slowing down, it was like a countdown to his death,” Allocca said. “You see the counter on the screen and you know he’s got like one more minute before he’s shot … It was pretty traumatic for Tim and I but at the same time it was better to know than leaving it to our imagination.”
Lt. Adam Kosheba, commander of the criminal investigation section in the Harrisburg barracks, said in a statement that the video was released “not so much to focus on the suspect’s vehicle, but more so to identify possible witnesses.”
They released the video now as a way to keep public attention on the case, said Trooper Robert Hicks, a spokesman for the task force.
“The reason for releasing it is to bring attention back to the case … bring it back into focus for the media and the public eye. We’re hoping it might jog somebody’s memory even if they think it’s minor and insignificant.”
Allocca said police told her they did not release the video earlier because they wanted to keep it as evidence for an eventual trial. But she supported its release now as a way to trigger new leads.
Hicks said the decision to release the video was not a sign the investigation has stalled.
“We’ve got information that we’re working on, but we want to get as many leads as we can,” he said. “It never hurts to have more.”
But random acts of violence between strangers, particularly in a place as isolated as a rural interstate in the middle of the night, are among the hardest crimes to solve, said Capt. Shawn O’Leary, head of investigations for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office.
“In the majority of acts of violence, the individuals know each other or there are witnesses. Situations like this are just very perplexing,” O’Leary said. There is likely little physical evidence, such as DNA or fingerprints, and ballistics analysis of the bullet apparently hasn’t linked it to some other crime in the federal database.
“This is going to be a very difficult case to solve,” O’Leary said. He suspects the release of the video is an effort to jump-start the investigation.
“They’ve just run out of leads and they’re trying to jog some people’s memories, with the hope someone will say ‘That is my car,’ ” he said.
Davison, 28, made two 911 calls, first to report that another driver was shooting at him and then, after the first call was dropped, he called again, telling dispatchers that the pickup rammed his car, running him off the road and into the grassy median. Police earlier released an audiotape of an excerpt of Davison’s conversation with dispatchers just before he was shot, though it does not include his final statements.
Investigators have said they believe the pickup and its driver were seen by several motorists along I-81 in Maryland, and possibly by other motorists in Pennsylvania.
The video shows a car and tractor-trailer truck headed in the opposite direction after Davison had been run off the road. Twelve seconds later – near the time the shooting happened – another northbound car passes and 27 seconds after that, what appears to be a small truck and another tractor-trailer pass the scene headed southbound.
There appear to be no identifying marks on the vehicles.
Allocca said she believes the killer drove across the highway to stop alongside the median right before the shooting and passing motorists would have noticed that.
“Everyone slows down at an accident. Everyone rubbernecks,” she said. “There’s brake lights on those videos … I think they were braking because (the suspect) had gone in to shoot my son.”
State police are asking anyone who may have been in the area at the time and saw anything to contact them. The Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers organization is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the killer. The Davison family also has offered a reward and has set up a website in memory of Davison as a way to solicit anonymous tips and as a vehicle to raise more money for the reward.
Allocca said she received four new tips Thursday morning.
The family’s $10,000 reward has grown to $11,650, Allocca said. Anything left over will be used to create a scholarship in her son’s name, but Allocca said she hopes it pays for information helping to get a killer off the road.
“We can’t do anything to bring our son back but we sure can help out to make sure it doesn’t happen to another family,” she said. She wants to get the word out, particularly south of Pennsylvania where she believes the confrontation originated and the killer probably lives.
“It’s not just those witnesses, but maybe even people who have heard something …” she said. “Maybe somebody boasting at the pool hall or grocery store.”
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: