Plymouth gunman’s mother and girl, 3, named among victims of mass shooting

13 August 2021, 17:32 | Updated: 13 August 2021, 19:32

Jake Davison, 22, shot and killed his mother, Maxine Davison, three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee Martyn, 43, in a tragic mass shooting in Plymouth.
Jake Davison, 22, shot and killed his mother, Maxine Davison, three-year-old Sophie Martyn and her father Lee Martyn, 43, in a tragic mass shooting in Plymouth. Picture: Facebook

By Asher McShane

Police have named the victims shot dead by rampaging gunman Jake Davison, 22, in a devastating mass shooting that shocked the nation.

Maxine Davison, also known as Maxine Chapman, was shot dead by son Davison before he went on to kill Sophie Martyn, 3 and her father Lee Martyn, aged 43.

He then went on to shoot Stephen Washington, aged 59, in Linear Park, before shooting Kate Shepherd, 66, who was rushed to hospital and later died.

He then took his own life.

The shooting lasted less than 10 minutes, police have confirmed.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will investigate Devon and Cornwall Police over Davison's possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate, which were returned to him last month after being removed in September 2020 following an allegation of assault.

Read more: Plymouth shooting: Jake Davison named as killer of five, including girl aged three

Read more: 'Unspeakably awful': Community grieves after six die in Plymouth shooting

Davison's first victim, his 50-year-old mother Maxine Davison, was killed at a house in Biddick Drive in the Keyham area of Plymouth, Devon, on Thursday evening.

Davison went outside and "immediately" shot dead little Sophie Martyn and her father Lee Martyn.

He moved along Biddick Drive, where he aimed and shot at two local residents - a man aged 33 and a 53-year-old woman - who received significant injuries that are not currently believed to be life-threatening.

He then entered Linear Park, where he killed 59-year-old Stephen Washington, before shooting Kate Shepherd, aged 66, on Henderson Place.

Eye-witnesses have told police how Davison then turned the gun on himself.

Read more: Jake Davison: How could Plymouth gunman get a firearm licence?

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer of Devon and Cornwall Police said the force received "multiple" calls about the incident at 6.11pm.

Armed and unarmed officers arrived at the scene within six minutes and discovered Davison's body a short time later, with this logged by police at 6.23pm.

No motive has yet been identified for the attacks.

Describing how the attack spilled out on to the street, Mr Sawyer said: "We've never in my time had homicide followed by a rampaging firearms attack on random members of the public and then taking one's life.

"That is without precedent in my time as chief constable."

Mr Sawyer described the shootings as "truly shocking" and said they had been witnessed by members of the public, who he urged to seek support.

"We believe we have an incident that is domestically related, that has spilled into the street and seen several people in Plymouth losing their lives in extraordinarily tragic circumstances," he said.

A weapon - described by witnesses as a pump-action shotgun - was recovered from the scene.

Mr Sawyer confirmed that Davison had held a firearms licence since at least 2020 but it was not yet known whether that firearm was used during the incident.

The circumstances surrounding the licensing of the firearm have now been subject to a mandatory referral to the IOPC by Devon & Cornwall Police.

"Multiple shots have been fired from a firearm during that six-minute or so period," Mr Sawyer told reporters.

"There are some 13 scenes and potentially more scenes.

"There are therefore five people of Plymouth who have lost their lives overnight - and Mr Davison himself - including a particularly young child."

He said the identities of the victims would be made public and said officers were working with their families, who he described as being "throughout the UK".

Detectives are examining Davison's social media output as part of their investigation, Mr Sawyer confirmed.

The killer appeared to post on a YouTube account under the name Professor Waffle just weeks before the massacre about how he was "beaten down" and "defeated by life".

His channel was subscribed to gun-related accounts and another named Incel TV, which features content related to "involuntary celibacy", although in one of his videos Davison said he "wouldn't clarify myself as an incel".

The online subculture involves men who express hostility and extreme resentment towards those who are sexually active, particularly women.

In another clip, he discusses missing out on a teenage romance and refers to "Chads", an incel community term for good-looking men who attract women.

And in another video, Davison says: "I know it's a movie but I like to think sometimes I'm the Terminator or something. Despite reaching almost total system failure he keeps trying to accomplish his mission."

Mr Sawyer said he could not say "at this time" whether Davison had mental health issues, but added: "This is an extraordinarily unusual response by a fellow human being."

"We are not considering terrorism or a relationship with any far-right group," he confirmed.

Officers are working with the Metropolitan Police to investigate what happened.

Mr Sawyer told reporters that witnesses were "shocked at what was unfolding before them" and there was no evidence to suggest Davison was saying anything as he carried out the atrocity.

The chief constable urged people not to contact police unless it was "truly an emergency" as the force was "very, very busy".

On Friday, forensic officers in protective clothing could be seen conducting fingertip searches at the scene, while a coroner's ambulance was filmed leaving the area.

A large yellow tent was set up in the area, with several uniformed officers posted around the cordon.

Mr Sawyer confirmed that it took "several hours" before police were able to tell residents that the incident had concluded on Thursday night.

"We were searching to see whether this was a lone individual, whether there were other individuals," he told reporters.

"This was a very fast, developing scene."

He told how members of the public were evacuated "primarily to ensure that there were not other persons who had been shot, injured or killed in the neighbouring premises".

The incident is the first mass shooting in Britain since June 2010, when taxi driver Derrick Bird killed 12 people and injured 11 others in Cumbria.

Police continue to investigate 13 scenes within the cordon in Keyham which is expected to remain in place throughout much of the weekend.

Anyone feeling vulnerable or wanting support can contact the Victim Support’s National Helpline on 0808 1689 111.

Anyone with specific information regarding this incident can contact 01752 487880.