Billie Davis is a woman accused of stabbing an 18-year-old Asian Indiana University student on a bus in Bloomington in a racially-motivated attack on January 11, 2023, police said in a press release. The 56-year-old Davis told police she targeted the teen for “being Chinese” and stabbed her several times. The unnamed victim suffered stab wounds to her head and was hospitalized but is expected to survive, police said.
“On January 11, 2023, at approximately 4:45 p.m., officers with the Bloomington Police Department responded to a report of an assault that had just occurred on a Bloomington Transit bus. The assault reportedly occurred when the bus stopped at the intersection of W 4th Street and the B-Line Trail,” police said in the press release. A witness that had been on the bus at the time the assault occurred followed the suspect on foot and provided responding officers with updated locations of the suspect until officers arrived in the area and detained the woman. Investigators made contact with the victim, an 18-year-old woman from Carmel, and requested that an ambulance respond to the scene, as the victim’s head was bleeding. The victim was then transported to an area hospital for treatment of her injuries.”
Davis will not face hate crime charges, prosecutors said. Monroe County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Kehr told NBC News, “Unfortunately, Indiana does not have any hate crimes laws. That is, we have no law that increases the level of the charge or the maximum penalty for a crime that is motivated by hate. It is a statutory aggravating circumstance that can be argued to the judge at sentencing to increase the sentence beyond the midpoint, but that’s it.”
Here’s what you need to know about Billie Ronett Davis and the stabbing attack:
1. Billie Davis Told Police She Stabbed the Victim So There Would Be ‘One Less Person to Blow Up Our Country’
According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Indiana Public Media, Billie Davis told police she tried to kill the victim because “it would be one less person to blow up our country.” Police said Davis did not have any interaction with the victim before the attack. Davis said she targeted the Indiana University student because of her race, according to the affidavit.
Police said in the press release, “The victim reported to investigators that she had been riding the Bloomington Transit bus and had stood up to exit the bus on 4th Street at the B-Line Trail. She said that as she was standing and waiting for the bus doors to open, another passenger on the bus began to strike her repeatedly in the head, which resulted in immediate pain. The suspect also exited the bus and began to walk towards Kirkwood Avenue.” Davis was later arrested, police said.
The incident remains under investigation, according to police. “Anyone who witnessed the assault, or thinks they may have further information, is asked to call Detective Rob Shrake at (812)349-3352,” Bloomington Police said in the press release. “Under Indiana law, criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.”
2. The Attack Was Caught on the Bus’ Surveillance Cameras & Shows Davis Stabbing the Victim About 7 Times, Police Said
According to the police press release, “Investigators were able to access camera footage from inside the bus which captured the assault. The footage showed that the suspect and victim had no interactions prior to the suspect stabbing the victim multiple times in the head as the victim waited for the bus doors to open.
Police said in the affidavit that the surveillance video showed Davis unfolding a knife as the victim was exiting the bus, according to the Bloomingtonian. Police said in the affidavit Davis appeared to “turn for a better position while clutching the knife,” and then could be seen stabbing or trying to stab the victim about seven times on the top of her head, the Bloomingtonian reports.
The video showed Davis then folding the knife, putting it back into her pocket and returning to her seat on the bus, according to the affidavit obtained by the Bloomingtonian. Police said Davis didn’t appear to acknowledge the victim after the stabbing or have any other contact with her, according to the affidavit. The Bloomingtonian reports the court document says Davis then exited the bus and was later found and arrested by Bloomington Police.
3. Davis Was Charged With Attempted Murder & Remains in Custody, Records Show
Police said in the press release, “The suspect was identified as Billie R. Davis (56, Bloomington). Davis was originally transported to the Monroe County Jail and booked in for the charge of Battery, level 5 felony. However, once the victim’s wounds had been cleaned at the hospital, it was determined that the victim had multiple stab wounds to her head. … Billie Davis was then re-interviewed by investigators at the Monroe County Jail. At the conclusion of the interview, her charge was amended to Attempted Murder, level 1 felony.”
Online court records viewed by Heavy show that along with attempted murder, Davis was charged with aggravated battery, a third-degree felony, and battery by means of a deadly weapon, a fifth-degree felony. Court records list Davis’ address as being on South Brandon Court in Bloomington. The online records also state that Davis is also known as Billie Pottorff, Billie Wyttenbach and Billie Ranard.
Davis made her first court appearance on January 12 and was ordered held on $100,000 surety bond or $1,000 cash bond after probable cause was found by Judge Talley Haseman. Online records show that Davis remains in jail at the Monroe County Correctional Center as of Monday, January 16, 2023. It was not immediately clear if Davis has hired or been appointed an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
4. Davis Has Previous Convictions on Charges Including Battery, Public Intoxication & Check Fraud, Records Show
According to online court records, Davis has a prior criminal record in Indiana. She was convicted of felony battery in 2003, records show. She was also arrested on charges of public intoxication and check fraud in 2001 and 1999, records show.
In 2018, Davis posted on her Facebook page, “I myself struggle w forgiveness but tonight let’s all pray for at least one person who has caused us heartache or grief pls pray for ones that r n jails n prisons for they r still human one crime isn’t any different than another we should never pass judgement on any person for we have never walked a mile n their shoes we have no idea what makes some do terrible things we just must keep trying to make the world a better place even if it’s one very small good deed at a time a lil love goes a long ways I’m praying that some day I will b able to 4give the way I know I should but tonight imma start w that one prayer for one of many who have hurt me n the ones I have hurt n my life we have to find away to make the world a beautiful place look at all we have been blessed w even r short comings r blessings n the long run.”
Also in 2018 she wrote on Facebook, “Y does rules n laws take all the fun put of life I now see y jails r over crowded.”
5. City & University Officials Condemned the Attack, Saying ‘This Week, Bloomington Was Sadly Reminded That Anti-Asian Hate Is Real & Can Have Painful Impacts on Individuals & Our Community’
In a statement, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said, “Following the brutal attack of a member of our community I want to state categorically that here in the city of Bloomington we deplore any form of racism and discrimination, especially hate based violence. This behavior is not acceptable and will be dealt with accordingly.”
Hamilton added, “I appreciate the quick response of a witness to the crime who helped police locate and identify the suspect along with the Bloomington Police Department and the Indiana University community of care for embracing the victim and providing appropriate support as she goes through this terrible ordeal. We know when a racially motivated incident like this resonates throughout the community, it can leave us feeling less safe. We stand with the Asian community and all who feel threatened by this event. Our staff will continue to do all we can for the victim and the larger community.”
The city’s mayor said, “Bloomington is a relatively safe place but we are not immune to issues with which our entire nation is dealing. This senseless incident is a reminder that we should all look out for each other, be aware of our surroundings and seek to combat racism and prejudice in all its forms wherever and whenever we encounter it.
Indiana University officials also condemned the attack. James Wimbush, the university’s vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, said in a statement, “This week, Bloomington was sadly reminded that anti-Asian hate is real and can have painful impacts on individuals and our community. No one should face harassment or violence due to their background, ethnicity or heritage. Instead, the Bloomington and IU communities are stronger because of the vast diversity of identities and perspectives that make up our campus and community culture.
Wimbush added, “To our Asian and Asian American friends, colleagues, students, and neighbors, we stand firmly with you. For members of our community who may find support helpful, counseling services are available to all faculty, staff, and students.”
The Indiana University Asian Culture Center said in a statement that the victim was attacked in a “horrific and targeted anti-Asian hatae crime.” The center said, “Our thoughts go out to the victim of this horrendous act, to her family and to everyone in the community who is affected by this racial violence.”
The statement added, “We are outraged and heartbroken by this unprovoked act of violence, but we also worry for the well-being of our community. We should not be fearing for our lives on public transportation. Taking the bus should not feel dangerous.”