'We can help you:' Dramatic video shows officers pleading with armed man before shooting

ATHENS, Ga. — Police have released bodycam video of a dramatic police shooting that left a man dead in Athens. 

The incident unfolded Monday around 12:30 p.m. on the 1000 block of Macon Highway.

Athens-Clarke County police said they received multiple calls about a man dripping blood and acting erratically.

"I want people to be able to see exactly what the officers were confronting and make their own decisions about how they feel about what occurred," Athens police Chief Cleveland Spruill said.

Police told Channel 2's Sophia Choi three officers responded to the scene. Two of the officers fired shots at the man when he wouldn't put the knife down and ran toward them, according to police.

The man, identified as 23-year-old Aaron Hong, was killed and one officer was injured.

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Shootings involving Georgia law enforcement for 2019]


In the bodycam video released during a news conference Tuesday, officers can be seen pleading with Hong to drop his knife. The officers repeatedly screamed at him, "We can help you!"

Hong responded to "just do it." Hong could be seen on the video rolling to the ground and getting back up after he was shot.

That's when he charged at one of the officers as he was trying to holster his weapon. The video shows Hong going for the gun and officers fired again, killing him.

Police said they tried to use a taser, but Hong charged at them before they could aim.

"The body-worn camera video evidence that I have seen and that I have shared with you today suggests the officers reasonably feared for their lives and their safety and used deadly force to defend themselves," Spruill said.

The chief told Channel 2 Action News this is the third officer-involved shooting in the county this year.

The officers have been identified as Senior Police Officer David Harrison and Officer Charles Bidinger, who were placed on administrative leave.

Bidinger was also involved in another shooting in March, but he was cleared. The chief believes his officers will be cleared in this case, too.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also investigating this shooting.