Anthony Hill, a 27-year-old veteran with a history of mental illness, was fatally shot by police in DeKalb County, Georgia on Monday, the New York Times reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Hill Was Naked, Unarmed & Possibly Had His Hands Up
The shooting happened at about 1 p.m. at an apartment complex in Chamblee, where the victim lived, DeKalb County Director of Public Safety Cedric Alexander said during a news conference recorded by Fox 5 Atlanta. Alexander did not identify the shooting victim, but Hill was identified by the Times and by family on social media.
A 911 caller reported that a man was acting “deranged, knocking on doors and crawling around on the ground, naked,” Alexander said. “The caller reported the male had taken off all his clothes and was just running throughout the entire complex.”
A witness told WSB-TV that Hill was hanging from a balcony, naked, before the shooting.
“He tells me, ‘I’m OK, I’m OK.’ That’s what he was saying,” the witness said, according to the news station. “He was acting crazy but he was calm like he didn’t know where he was. He was like kind of lost in his face.”
WSB-TV obtained video of Hill before the shooting.
Alexander said the first officer to respond to the scene, later identified as Master Officer Robert Olsen, saw Hill in the parking lot area. Olsen said Hill charged, running at him. “The officer called for him to stop, while running backwards, drew his weapon and fired two shots,” Alexander said. Olsen attempted to provide aid to Hill, but he died at the scene. Hill was shot in the “upper torso,” Alexander said.
Olsen is a seven-year veteran of the DeKalb department.
A witness, 43-year-old Pedro Castillo, a maintenance worker at the apartment complex, told the New York Times on Tuesday that Hill had his hands up in the air when he approached the officer. Castillo said Hill was on all fours in the parking lot when Olsen arrived, parking his squad car “a good distance away,” according to the Times report.
Castillo told the Times that it didn’t seem like Olsen had to shoot Hill, but did need to defend himself. Other witnesses said they had seen Hill earlier, and he was acting strange. One witness said an employee of the complex tried to calm Hill, hugging him for “some time,” the Times reported. Another witness said Olsen appeared “very scared.”
Alexander said Olsen was armed with a Taser. He declined to comment when asked if Olsen should have used the stun gun instead of shooting Hill, saying “we need to wait and see what the outcome of the investigation is.” He said he doesn’t know “what measure or countermeasures the officers may have taken,” stating that more will be learned from witness statements and physical evidence taken from the scene.
The investigation was turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Alexander said. The chief said he turned over the investigation because “of what’s going on currently across this country as it relates to police shootings,” and because “it appears there may not have been any weapon found at the scene.”
“It is important to all of us in this community that we appear very transparent and open,” Alexander said, adding that “fairness needs to reach to all those involved.”
2. Hill Was Bipolar
According to posts Hill made on social media, he was bipolar.
In another recent post, he referenced the character Andre from the FOX TV show Empire, who is bipolar:
In his final Facebook post, Hill wrote Monday morning, “Where i once saw death i only see life.”
Alexander said during his press conference that officers do receive some training in how to handle those with mental health issues, but did not provide specifics. He added that the department is trying to provide more training for those situations.
3. Hill Was a Musician & an Air Force Veteran
Hill, a native of South Carolina, described himself on his Twitter account as an R&B singer and songwriter.
Three of his songs are available on his Soundcloud page, where he uses the name Ant Lanta.
Hill served in the Air Force, including in the Middle East as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. He also attended the University of South Carolina.
A family member, Harrietta Jones, of South Carolina, told the New York Times that Hill had received treatment from the Veterans Administration and was possibly having difficulty with his medication.
4. Hill Made Several Posts on Social Media About Recent Fatal Police-Involved Shootings
Hill posted about the police shooting of Tony Robinson, an unarmed 19-year-old who was killed Friday in Madison, Wisconsin:
He also made posts after the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.
5. DeKalb County Police Recently Killed Another Man in a Controversial Shooting
A 44-year-old man, Kevin Davis, was shot and killed by a DeKalb officer in December after the man called 911 for help, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.’
According to the newspaper’s report, Davis, who had not criminal history, called 911 Dec. 29 and said a man had stabbed his girlfriend. When an officer arrived at the apartment, he was met by a large dog, according to the report. After the officer, Joseph Pitts, shot the dog, Davis came outside holding a gun, police said. The officer told Davis to put the gun down multiple times and shot him when he did not. Police didn’t say that Davis pointed the gun at Pitts.
Davis died two days later. His girlfriend survived and a co-worker of Davis, who had been staying at the home, was charged with her stabbing, according to AlterNet.
That case was also turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in February for an independent examination after pressure from Davis’ family and protesters. The officer was cleared to return to duty, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Monday’s shooting also comes days after Robinson’s death in Madison sparked days of outrage and protests and brought the issue of police violence in the U.S. back to the forefront.