A teacher arrested for firing a gun at school Wednesday had turned himself in previously, believing that he had caused the death of a person who might not exist, police records show.
Randal Jesse Davidson, a popular teacher and sports radio personality in north Georgia, was taken into custody after barricading himself in a room at Dalton High School and firing a gun.
The bullet ultimately went out a window and never hit anyone, but the incident caused a full-scale lockdown until Davidson, 53, of Rising Fawn, Ga., was taken into custody.
Davidson has been a social studies teacher at Dalton High since fall 2004 and is certified to teach history, political science, economics, geography and behavioral science, according to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Wednesday’s incident wasn’t his first unusual interaction with law enforcement in Dalton, a city of almost 35,000 residents about 80 miles northwest of Atlanta. On Wednesday night, the department released two police reports to WXIA-TV — the only two on file involving the teacher.
Officers’ first run-in with the teacher involved his coming to the police. A report filed March 21, 2016, explains that Davidson arrived in the lobby and said he wanted to confess to having someone killed.
He then sat down with a detective and said he had been having an Internet affair with a woman that he ended after a few weeks. He told his wife about it.
The mistress had kids and allegedly tried to continue the relationship, Davidson told police. At some point, the woman became abusive to her children, he said, and two friends approached him saying they would “take care of her for him.”
When he met with those friends next, he asked if they had scared her. They had done “worse than that,” Davidson said his friends told him.
That was when Davidson approached police. However, an investigation and communications with neighboring law enforcement never uncovered proof that this woman existed or matched any missing person.
Meanwhile, Davidson also refused to identify the friends he referred to, would not provide contact information and said he already had deleted information from his cellphone that could have helped police.
However, he did tell investigators that he had just gotten out of the hospital and was on several medications for depression. The report concludes that he was delusional.
“Something else (may have) occurred that is causing him to have these thoughts,” officers wrote.
Davidson then was taken to a hospital for observation.
The previous year Davidson and his wife, who is a science teacher and department chairwoman at Dade County High School in Trenton, Ga., filed for bankruptcy in Tennessee. They had lived in Chattanooga, about 30 miles northwest of Dalton. It was the second time that the couple had filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors.
Last year Dalton police filed another report on Davidson. On Jan. 25, 2017, Davidson apparently told co-workers that he wasn’t feeling well and was going home.
However, when his wife arrived to pick him up, no one could find him. At first, faculty said he was in a hallway far away from his classroom. However, he wasn’t there when officers arrived.
Hours later that same day he was found near the intersection of School and April streets, almost a mile’s walk away. Police arrived to find Davidson sitting on the curb with school staff holding him upright.
He was conscious but would not react or respond to officers and emergency medical services took him to a local hospital.
In Wednesday’s incident, Davidson is accused of barricading himself in a classroom at Dalton High, not allowing students to enter. When the principal arrived to attempt to unlock the classroom door, a shot was fired.
He remains in Whitfield County jail in Dalton charged with aggravated assault with a gun, terroristic threats and acts, carrying a weapon in a school safety zone without a license, reckless conduct, disrupting a public school and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony. He makes his first appearance in Thursday in Whitfield County Superior Court in Dalton.