Dalton, GA – The Dalton High School teacher who barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a gun on Wednesday had a history with the local police department.
On March 21, 2016, Jesse “Randall” Davidson, the social studies teacher who was known as the “radio voice” of the high school’s football team, told police that he’d had two friends kill somebody else on his behalf, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Police investigated the confession, but couldn’t verify any of the information or identify the alleged victim.
Instead, the police report said they ended up taking him to Hamilton Medical Center because the teacher was having suicidal thoughts.
Then in January of 2017, Davidson told colleagues he didn’t feel well and then disappeared from the Davidson campus, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Police found the teacher several hours later, sitting on a curb about a mile away from the school. The police report said he was unable or unwilling to respond to officers, so they took him to the hospital again.
The 53-year-old teacher was very popular with students and faculty, who reacted with shock to his arrest on Feb. 28 after he locked students and the school’s principal out of his classroom at about 11:40 a.m.
When the principal tried to unlock the door, Davidson fired a handgun through an exterior window, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The principal put the school into lockdown, and notified police.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Dalton Police Public Information Officer Bruce Frazier said authorities made the decision to evacuate all the students and faculty from the nearby classrooms in that part of the school before they began negotiations with the teacher.
After about 45 minutes, Officer Frazier said they were able to get the gunman to surrender.
Dalton Police Assistant Chief Cliff Cason commended the school’s resource officer for talking Davidson into surrendering to authorities, and called the school’s handling of the incident “flawless,” FOX News reported.
“Our job would not have been nearly as easy to execute today if it weren’t for how well they did in doing their lockdown drill,” Chief Cason said.
Davidson was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, carrying a weapon on school grounds, terroristic threats, reckless conduct, possession of a gun during commission of a crime, and disrupting public school, police tweeted.
The teacher was booked into the Whitfield County Jail, FOX News reported.
Davidson has taught at Dalton High School since 2004. Dalton Public Schools said he was recognized as the school’s top teacher in 2012, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.