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Security video captures encounter before officer fatally shot student

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By The Associated Press
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 7:14 p.m.

MOBILE, Ala. — Video of the fatal shooting of a naked Alabama college student shows him with his arms outstretched and his palms open seconds before a campus police officer fired.

The Mobile County Sheriff's Department played the approximately two-minute security video for media on Thursday. It was taken by a security camera outside the University of South Alabama police station, where 18-year-old Gil Collar was fatally shot early Saturday morning. The video has no sound.

Police said Collar had taken LSD and was acting aggressively, but an attorney for Collar's family said the video shows his actions didn't justify the shooting. The former high school wrestler was struck once in the chest.

On the video, Collar walks slowly toward a campus police station door once and then walks away. Seconds later, he walks back to the station and pounds violently on a glass window. He then walks away from the police station again before an officer, Trevis Austin, comes out with his gun drawn and pointed at the naked student. Collar approaches Austin with his arms outstretched and palms open toward Austin.

They move around the porch, with Collar kneeling at one point, then getting to his feet and again walking toward Austin. The officer keeps backing away from Collar, his gun pointed at the student, as Collar approaches. The two move into the yard, where the view of the camera is partially blocked by the porch columns and lighting. Less than 30 seconds after Austin came out of the building, the video shows Collar falling after having been shot. The police dispatcher can be seen opening the station's front door in response to the sound of gunfire. A second officer arrives just as Collar is being shot. Collar gets up twice and the officers pursue him.

Sheriff Sam Cochran said two officers handcuffed Collar to subdue him after he was shot, but that could not be clearly seen on the video.

“In my opinion it was proper to come out with the gun,” Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said.

He said numerous police officers have been killed with their own weapons and that it is important for an officer to make sure a suspect isn't able to take control of a weapon. Collar did not touch Austin but got as close as five feet to the pointed gun before Austin fired.

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