Tips sought on suspect in fatal road rage beating in Detroit

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Detroit police have identified the suspect as Lawrence James Davis, 23.

Detroit — Police Chief James Craig on Wednesday asked the public for help to find a man who is accused of beating a 24-year-old to death Monday following a car crash in an apparent road rage incident.

Craig said investigators are looking for Lawrence James Davis, 23, who fled the scene on foot with three other males. He also said the case is being reviewed by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

"Lawrence James Davis, if you're seeing this: Turn yourself in," Craig said during a news conference at the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters downtown. "Do yourself a favor. We've identified you. People are going to call us. Turn yourself in."

He also asked anyone who knows Davis or knows where he is to help investigators by calling the Detroit Police Department's Homicide Unit at (313) 596-2260 or leaving an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers of Michigan at (800) SPEAK-UP. 

The police chief said the suspect has a history of violence that goes back to when the suspect was 15 years old.

Police said Monday's beating took place about 1:50 a.m. on the 13500 block of Livernois near West Davison.

MoreSuspect sought in fatal road rage beating on Detroit's west side

After the 24-year-old's dark blue 2011 Buick Regal and a dark blue 2007 Chevy Impala crashed, the victim got out of his vehicle and was "beaten severely by the suspect," officials said.

"The victim was trying to communicate with the suspect, but the suspect became enraged and began to strike the victim several times, knocking him to the ground," the police chief said. "At some point, the victim is able to stand on his feet, and he's knocked down again."

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by medics.

Craig said investigators believe a final kick by the suspect to the victim's head might have been the fatal blow. "We're not absolutely certain, the medical examiner has not ruled on that."

He also pointed out it appears in surveillance video that the suspect attempted to render aid to the victim, giving him water and checking for a pulse before leaving the scene.

The victim was planning on moving into the city to live, the police chief said.

"For this to happen, you just can't put into words," he said. "It's tragic. And I guess the number one question is 'Why did this happen?'"

Supporters launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral costs for the victim, whom they identified on the website as Tyler Wingate.

"This is a very serious, sobering reminder of the violence we've seen here in Detroit," Craig said. "A lot of the violence is coming from disputes and quickly escalating to violence."