Girlfriend of military veteran killed by police: "My heart stopped"

Channel 2's Wendy Corona Reports

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The girlfriend of an Air Force veteran, who was unarmed and undressed when a police officer shot him dead, tells Channel 2 Action News the officer was wrong to open fire.
 
"What makes me angry, these people who have fought for our country; they come home, just to be shot down by cops? That's ridiculous," said Bridget Anderson.
 
Anderson, 22, gave her first television interview with Channel 2's Tom Regan. She said she was devastated when she got a call March 9 on the way back from Macon. She was told her boyfriend of three years, Anthony Hill, was dead.
 
"I was actually on the road when I got the call. Anthony had been shot by the police. My heart just stopped," said Anderson
 
Hill, a 27-year-old veteran, served four years in the Air Force, including a tour in Afghanistan. Anderson said he suffered from a bi-polar disorder and possibly was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder. Two weeks before the shooting, Hill stopped taking his psychiatric medication.
 
"The side effects of the medicine were just giving him a lock jaw. He often complained that he had a swollen tongue," said Anderson.
 
The veteran's companion says she does not know what triggered Hill's bizarre behavior leading up the shooting. The veteran had removed his clothing and strode around his apartment complex naked and in a daze on the afternoon of March 9.
 
Anderson described cellphone video taken of Hill minutes before the shooting.
 
"He was walking like a cave man. He was in another place, a different world. It's hard to look at, cause it wasn't him," said Anderson.
 
DeKalb police said alarmed apartment residents called 911. When Officer Robert Olsen, a nine-year police veteran responded, he confronted the military veteran.  Police said Hill lunged toward the officer and ignored demands to stop. The officer shot Hill twice in the chest, killing him.
 
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has completed a two and half month investigation into the shooting and forwarded the case report to the DeKalb County District Attorney. A representative told Regan District Attorney Robert James has begun a review of the findings, and may present the findings to a Grand Jury. A spokeswoman for the GBI told Regan they could not reveal their findings or conclusions of whether or not the officer's use of deadly force was justified.
             
"It will include everything about the scene. It will include all the witness interviews and testing of any evidence that was done. We turn the facts over to the district attorney and he determines how to proceed with the case," said GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang.
 
Anderson said she and Hill had spoken about getting married in the near future. She said he was a peaceful, loving person who never displayed erratic or aggressive behavior toward anyone. She said the officer had alternatives to using his gun to subdue Hill if he considered him a threat.
 
"I believe Officer Olson did have time to analyze the situation. Why did you have to reach for a gun when you had a Taser and pepper spray on your belt? He was disrobed. Obviously no weapons," said Anderson.
 
Regan also spoke with Kailen Alexander, a close friend and roommate of the veteran. Alexander, who described Hill as a brother, said the veteran was in good spirits in the morning on the day he was killed. He was planning to workout.
 
"He told me he was going to gym, because he wanted to get some squats in. Anybody that knew Anthony would tell you if he wasn't walking around singing, he was walking around smiling," said Alexander.
 
Alexander told Regan police called him following the shooting, and investigators picked him upfrom work to return to the apartment complex for questioning.


"They were asking me certain questions. Has he ever dealt with any kinds of drugs? Is he a heavy drinker? Anthony never acted up. He doesn't like violent movies or video games," said Alexander.
 
The veteran's roommate said he cannot understand why the officer had to use his weapon to subdue Hill.
 
"I mean, he's completely nude. He's only 5 foot 8. He's smaller than me. Honestly, I don't think what he did was justified," said Alexander.
 
Alexander and the veteran's girlfriend said they believe police need more training in handling calls involving mentally ill subjects, and that they should be accompanied by paramedics.
 
Anderson said her boyfriend loved children and would often help clean up a soccer field near his apartment. She said he was a gifted singer who aspired for a career as a singer and songwriter. Despite harrowing experiences in Afghanistan, she said he loved life and loved people.
 
"He had an amazing voice and he just wanted to use his voice to get a message out there to love, love. I just want to pay it forward. Keep a positive outlook and get justice for him, because he deserves it," said Anderson.

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