Police ID Officer Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Teen

Lt. Mark Tiller shot Zachary Hammond, 19, during attempted drug bust in Hardee's parking lot
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2015 10:32 AM CDT
Police ID Officer Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Teen

After a flurry of Freedom of Information Act requests, police in South Carolina yesterday identified Lt. Mark Tiller as the officer who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old teen Zachary Hammond during a drug sting in a Hardee's parking lot, the Washington Post reports. According to NBC News, police had previously refused to identify Tiller, a 10-year-veteran with no record of disciplinary action within the Seneca Police Department, because he was a victim of "attempted murder" in the Hardee's incident last month and over concerns for his safety. The New York Times reports officers suspicious of a possible drug deal stopped Hammond's car before Tiller opened fire through the open driver's side window.

Police say Hammond tried to run over Tiller prior to the shooting, but the official police report from the scene makes no mention of what happened before the shooting or why Tiller believed his life was in danger, according to the Post. Based on where the shots were fired from, Hammond's family questions the use of deadly force and doesn't believe the officer feared for his life. Dash cam footage of the incidentexists, but it isn't clear when it will be made public, notes the Times. A 23-year-old woman in the car with Hammond at the time was arrested on suspicion of possessing 10 grams of marijuana. Hammond is white, and his attorney thinks that's why the case isn't getting as much national attention as other police shootings. (More police shooting stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.