Naked, unarmed black man shot dead by white metro Atlanta cop

Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
An African American man running and “crawling” naked through his apartment complex in suburban Atlanta was fatally shot Monday by a DeKalb County police officer. The unarmed man may have had mental health issues, authorities said.

The unidentified white DeKalb police officer responded to a call regarding a man, identified as Anthony Hill, 27, according to social media and confirmed by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, who was allegedly "acting deranged, knocking on doors and crawling around naked," at The Heights apartment complex in Chamblee, Georgia, said Cedric Alexander, director of the county public safety department.

Despite being equipped with a stun gun and pepper spray, the officer fired two shots when Hill allegedly ran in his direction, ignoring calls to stop.

"The officer called him to stop while stepping backward, drew his weapon and fired two shots," he said.

Hill, a resident of The Heights, died of the body wounds. Alexander said the investigation is in the hands of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) as “a result of what's going on currently across this country as it relates to police shootings."

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“No weapon was found,” Alexander said. “The GBI is going to take the point on this investigation.”

Alexander did not say the distance between Hill and the officer, a 7-year veteran of the police force, when the latter shot.

"I think in all fairness we need to wait and see what the outcome of the investigation is because I can't tell you, beyond what I have told you so far, what kind of measures that officer may have taken," he said.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave.

As for Hill, Alexander suggested the man may have had some mental health issues.

"I can only reasonably assume that if he was running around the apartment complex naked, I believe we can make the assumption there may have been some mental health experience that he might have been having," Alexander said.

Alexander added that DeKalb County police officers do undergo some training to deal with the mentally ill, but he said there will be an examination to determine if additional instruction is warranted.

"That's becoming more and more apparent," Alexander said. "We have already, as many departments have begun to do, look at how to expand our mental health training when we find it certainly necessary to do so. Because it appears that we're seeing more and more of these cases across the country in which police are engaging with those who appear to be in distress."

Hill's murder comes about a week after the suspicious DeKalb County police shooting of a 44-year-old Kevin Davis in Decatur.