Campus Police Kill Naked Freshman

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 7 2012 11:37 AM

Why Did a Campus Police Officer Shoot and Kill Naked University of South Alabama Freshman?

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Friends and family of a University of South Alabama student are struggling to understand why a campus police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old who apparently was naked and acting erratically outside the campus police station early Saturday morning, reports CNN. Gilbert Thomas Collar, a six-year varsity wrestler, was apparently banging on the window of the police station at 1:23 a.m. Saturday when an officer walked out and “was confronted by a muscular, nude man who was acting erratically,” according to a university news release. Collar was 5-foot-7 and weighed 135 pounds, according to his mother.   

The naked Collar allegedly “verbally challenged the officer in a fighting stance.” At that point, the campus cop drew his weapon and ordered him to stop. Yet Collar “continued to rush toward the officer in a threatening manner and ignored the officer’s repeated commands to stop.” So the officer apparently thought the best thing to do was to shoot Collar in the chest.

The officer is now on paid leave and Collar’s body will be undergoing an autopsy to determine whether drugs or alcohol were involved, reports the Associated Press.

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Collar’s mother, Bonnie, is struggling to understand what happened. "He was wearing no clothes and he was obviously not in his right mind," she told CNN. "Obviously he was not armed. He was completely naked."

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.