Authorities in Georgia are investigating whether an officer was justified in the fatal shooting of an unarmed, naked man at an Atlanta-area apartment complex.
DeKalb County police responded Monday to reports from neighbors of a resident knocking on doors before disrobing and crawling naked on the ground, Chief Cedric Alexander said at a news conference.
He said officers found the man in the complex parking lot. Police said the man ran toward them and was told to stop. When he didn’t, Alexander said, a veteran officer shot twice, killing him. It wasn’t clear whether the man was trying to attack the officers or whether the officer could have deployed his Taser or used pepper spray instead of shooting.
Police described the officer as white and the suspect as black, but declined to name them Monday. The suspect was first identified by The New York Times as 27-year-old Anthony Hill. A family member confirmed his name and a Facebook page to NBC News. On Facebook, some of Hill’s posts referenced race and how he wanted to tell his story.
But it’s not clear what allegedly set him off Monday, witnesses said. “The man, he was like drugged, but he was naked, and he was crawling,” neighbor Oscar Perez told NBC affiliate WXIA. “I think the police officer thought he was going to attack, so he shot him.”
The man’s actions suggest that he may have been mentally disturbed, Alexander said. “I believe we can make the assumption that [there] may have been some mental health experience that he might have been having,” he said.
The officer, a seven-year veteran, was put on administrative leave while the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been tasked with reviewing whether he could have used non-lethal force instead, Alexander said.