Two men sought in shootings caught

Johnathan Davis Jr.

Two of Knoxville’s most wanted bad guys were captured within hours of each other by a federal task force in North Carolina, authorities announced Thursday.

Both men were accused of serious crimes of violence and both were captured in the Charlotte, N.C. region by the U.S. Marshals Service Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Scott Erland.

Johnathan Davis Jr., 20, was tracked down and taken into custody in Gaston County on Thursday morning. He’s facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder for a shooting at the Red Roof Inn on Central Avenue Pike last year in North Knoxville.

The Red Roof Inn shooting took place on Oct. 11 when several suspects approached a second-floor room in what police described as a “possible armed robbery.” Gunfire erupted and John Townsend, 58, was killed. A second person was critically injured, according to police accounts of the incident.

The other captured fugitive, 40-year-old Michael Ems, was booked into the jail in Mecklenburg County on Wednesday night. He was wanted for attempted first-degree murder in connection with a May 23 domestic dispute that turned violent on Antoinette Way, said Erland. 

Michael Ems

“The victim reported that the suspect, her ex-boyfriend, had assaulted her and shot at her. The victim was not struck by the gunshot, but she was allegedly choked and struck in the side of the head multiple times by the suspect,” Erland said. 

“He also allegedly put the pistol to her head and threatened to kill her. Based on what was reported to us, it sounded like a pretty violent and frightening encounter,” he continued.

 Both men are currently awaiting extradition back to Knox County.

“The Knoxville Police Department is grateful to the U.S. Marshals Service and its Federal Bureau of Investigation partners for their assistance to help locate and apprehend these two wanted fugitives,” said Erland.

 J.J. Stambaugh can be reached at 

Published on May 28, 2021