Officials: Student shot by officer was on LSD

Posted: October 10, 2012

MOBILE, Ala. - A nude University of South Alabama freshman had taken LSD and assaulted others before he chased the campus police officer who fatally shot him, authorities said Tuesday, though the student wasn't armed and didn't touch the officer.

Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said at a news conference that Gil Collar, 18, took the potent hallucinogen during a music festival Saturday before assaulting two people in vehicles and attempting to bite a woman's arm.

Authorities said Collar then went to the campus police headquarters, where he was shot by university police officer Trevis Austin. Austin is on leave while investigators review the shooting.

Video taken by a surveillance camera showed Collar nude and covered in sweat as he pursued the retreating officer more than 50 feet outside the building, Cochran said. Collar got within 5 feet of Austin and the officer fired once, striking the student in the chest, Cochran said.

Cochran said that Austin came out of police headquarters with his gun drawn after he heard Collar - a 5-foot-7, 135-pound former high school wrestler - banging on a door. While campus police typically carry pepper spray and a baton, Cochran said Austin was armed only with a gun.

The sheriff said it was unclear whether the officer could have avoided the shooting even if he had a nonlethal weapon to subdue the student.

"Had the officer had a Taser or some other less lethal instrument I don't know if that officer would have had an opportunity to shoulder his pistol and to use something else because the events were evolving so rapidly and he was approaching so close," Cochran said.

Cochran said he had "serious concerns" about the killing of an unarmed student when he first heard what had happened, but he better understood the officer's decision after watching the videotape.

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