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Naked student fatally shot by police at Alabama college

October 06, 2012|By Paloma Esquivel

A campus police officer fatally shot a naked student who was acting erratically and in a threatening manner at the University of South Alabama in Mobile Saturday.

The shooting occurred after officers heard banging on a window at the campus police station after 1 a.m. An officer went out to investigate and found Gilbert Thomas Collar, an 18-year-old freshman from Wetumpka, Ala., nude and acting erratically, according to information posted on the school’s website. The post describes Collar as muscular.

“The man repeatedly rushed and verbally challenged the officer in a fighting stance,” the post says. The officer drew his gun, ordered Collar to stop and retreated several times, but Collar continued to act threatening.

At one point, Collar kneeled for a moment and then rushed the officer again. When the freshman did not respond to commands to stop, the officer shot him in the chest. The student continued to struggle for a time, then collapsed and died.

The officer, who was not identified in the post, has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.

The university posted the information as a crime alert on its homepage. The district attorney's office and county sheriff's department will investigate.

In a statement to the Wetumpka Herald, Collar’s hometown wrestling coach described the 18-year-old as “a physical, spiritual and mental warrior.”

“I remember the first time he walked into the wrestling room,” Jeff Glass told the paper. “He was such a natural. He was the only wrestler I coached who wrestled varsity for six years. That takes more heart than I can tell you. … And I love him like my own.”

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paloma.esquivel@latimes.com

Twitter: @palomaesquivel

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