Student Shot by USAPD Officer
Monday, 08 October 2012 17:27
18-year-old Gilbert Collar of Wetumpka, Ala. was killed around 1 a.m. Oct. 6
An 18-year-old student is dead and a USAPD officer is on paid administrative leave after a tragic sequence of events which began around 1:30 a.m. on October 6.
Gilbert Collar of Wetumpka, Ala., was shot by a USAPD officer, who has not been identified. Collar was allegedly acting erratically and attacked the officer, who responded to noises outside of the USAPD station on Stadium Drive.
USAPD and public relations worked together to compile a timeline, which was presented to the public at a 3 p.m. news conference.
According to the statement, Collar was nude and acting extremely erratic. Collar knocked on the glass outside of USAPD around 1 a.m.
When an officer emerged to see what the sound was, Collar confronted him in a reportedly hostile manner. Collar “verbally rushed and challenged the officer in a fighting stance,” according Keith Ayers, director of public relations.
That’s when the officer drew his weapon and ordered Collar to stop. Collar did not stop, according to the statement, and the officer shot him in the chest.
After being shot, Collar rose from the ground once more and tried to attack the officer before collapsing. The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation that extends beyond USA to include the district attorney’s office and the Sheriff’s Department.
The entire incident has shocked the USA community. USA SGA president Parker Chastain told The Vanguard that he’s hoping this brings unity to campus.
“As we continue to receive more information on recent events, our thoughts and prayers are with the Collar family. The loss that we have experienced is a great misfortune, and I hope that the USA family will join together in remembering the life that was shared with us. As we move forward during this time of hardship, please be respectful and remember we are all jaguars,” Chastain said. In the search for answers, the story of Collar’s death has garnered international attention. CNN spoke with Collar’s mother.
“The first thing on my mind is, freshman kids do stupid things, and campus police should be equipped to handle activity like that without having to use lethal force,” she told CNN. Questions and controversy have arisen over the use of lethal force, and Ayers confirmed the existence of a video camera outside of USAPD that caught the entire incident on camera.
The tape has since been turned over to investigating authorities.
USAPD officers are not issued tasers. USAPD Chief Zeke Aull, said in an interview earlier this year that officers are issued mace or pepper spray.
The unnamed officer reportedly shot Collar with a standard issue .40 caliber Glock.
The Mobile County Medical Examiner’s office will perform an autopsy. Toxicology results will be made available as soon as they’re released.
In the meantime, USA and Collars’ off-campus friends are grappling with the loss of their loved one. Melissa Mims, a friend of the Collar family, told The Vanguard “Gil” was a kind spirit.
“He really was a great guy and had very many friends. He lived a great life and showed God’s love to everyone every single day,” Mims said.
One of Collar’s high school teachers reflected the sentiment.
“He was a very sweet, respectable, fun, dedicated and well-liked guy,” Wetumka High science teacher Jessica Holbert said.
With some facts not yet known, student reactions have been varied. USA acting student, Carleton Warnberg, was quick to admonish premature speculation.
“No one knows exactly what happened, and until we do, it is all speculation,” Warnberg said.”
The Vanguard posted the video of the press conference in its entirety on its Facebook page and will continue to update this story as details emerge.