Community pays its respect to slain officer

Published 8:40 pm Monday, December 7, 2009

The children at Valley Elementary School lined up on the side of U.S. 31 on Monday, hands over hearts, to pay respect to slain Pelham police officer Philip Davis, who was shot and killed Dec. 3 following a traffic stop on Interstate 65.

The sight was similar just up the road in front of Pelham City Hall as hundred lined the street to pay their respects to Davis. Signs were up throughout the city and people stopped their cars and got out as the motorcade passed by.

Davis’ body was transported from Southern Heritage Funeral Home to the Church at Brook Hills on Monday, and the processional motorcade made a stop by the Pelham Police Department one last time. Davis’ body will be put to rest Tuesday at Southern Heritage following an 11 a.m. service at the Church at Brook Hills.

”It was very moving,” Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said of the outpouring of support shown Monday. “That’s the compassion and love of our city.”

Murphy also said many businesses have stepped forward and donated food and services to make sure th family and police force were taken care of.

“They just continue to give,” Murphy said. “The businesses have been so good to us.”

Flags around the city have been lowered to half-staff in honor of Davis’ sacrifice. Davis was killed Dec. 3 after he pulled over Bart Wayne Johnson, 33 of Kimberly, for speeding on I-65. Johnson was apprehended early morning on Dec. 4 and is being held without bond on the capital murder charge. He is being held in the Shelby County Jail. A preliminary hearing has been set for Jan. 6 at 8:30 a.m. Hundreds of people were lined up Davis’ visitation Monday night, as pictures in the Church of Brook Hills reminded each visitor of the good-natured man Davis was.

“He will be remembered by the way he kidded acted up with his fellow officers,” Murphy said. “He had a way of making a serious moment less tense and comical. He’d make you laugh when you weren’t supposed to.”

Murphy said Davis’ family is holding up well, but they are going to need the community’s support.

“I promised his wife that he’s not going to be forgotten and his family is not going to be forgotten,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he has put together a committee to decide the best way to honor Davis.