Pittsburgh Target rescuer found shot to death

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A felon who died after he was shot at least 10 times Monday afternoon in Larimer was among those who attempted to intervene when a girl was stabbed last year in the Target store in East Liberty.

Hosea Davis' past included several stints in jail -- one in connection with the fatal stabbing of a childhood friend. But last year, he was briefly celebrated as a hero when he and others came to the aid of 16-year-old Allison Meadows after a man attacked her with a knife.

Pittsburgh police found Davis, 37, of Lincoln-Lemington lying shot on Rapidan Way near Lowell Street after three people called 911 about 12:50 p.m. to report hearing shots fired nearby.

Police said they found evidence that 16 shots were fired using a rifle, possibly similar to an AK-47. At least 10 of the shots hit Davis in the back, chest and abdomen and some were fired from close range after Davis fell to the ground, major crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

The lieutenant said police suspect that Davis was chased from near Winfield Street and Paulson Avenue toward the alley where he was found dead.

Detectives spent Monday afternoon attempting to interview neighbors and family. They had not released information about a suspect or a motive Monday evening.

Some family members came to the crime scene while detectives collected evidence. A woman who answered the phone at Davis' mother's house later in the day said the family did not wish to talk.

Davis was one of several people who attempted to intervene March 25, 2013, when police said a homeless man named Leon Walls, 41, stabbed Allison inside the Target store.

Police said Walls ran into the store and weaved in and out of cashiers' aisles, at some point grabbing the teen.

Davis jumped into the chaos and tried to help free Allison, whose lung collapsed after she was stabbed in the back.

"He was like Superman. All I've seen is this little guy flying in the air," Michael Turner of East Liberty, who also tried to help, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shortly after Walls' arrest. Walls is awaiting a Feb. 10 preliminary hearing.

Allison recovered and was released from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC a short time after the attack. She received visits from some of the men who tried to help her and stays in text contact with some of them, according to Chelsey Stokes, a friend of Allison's who was in the Target store at the time.

"I do remember his name," Ms. Stokes said Monday night of Davis. "I don't think things would have ended up the way they ended if he wasn't there."

Years earlier, Davis was implicated in an unrelated fatal stabbing.

Police charged Davis, whose rap sheet also included drug and gun convictions, with killing Tommy Paige, whom he had known since grammar school, at the Elks Club on Lincoln Avenue in September 2001.

Davis was convicted based on testimony from a woman who later said she had lied, according to Bill Moushey, who served as director of the Innocence Institute of Western Pennsylvania before it closed.

Davis was granted a new trial but decided to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter as part of a deal and was sentenced to four to eight years in prison.

That case, Mr. Moushey said, was "an absolute travesty."

"These types of cases destroy many lives and there's no question ... when you get saddled with something like what Hosea Davis did, it would be very difficult to overcome it."

Anyone with information about Davis' death is asked to call Pittsburgh homicide detectives at 412-323-7161.

Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1438 or on Twitter @LizNavratil. Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944. First Published January 20, 2014 1:40 PM


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