Seneca, SC — On July 26, Seneca Police Lt. Mark Tiller ran towards 19-year-old Zachary Hammond’s car with his gun drawn as Hammond’s date, Tori Morton, had allegedly just sold a few grams of marijuana to an officer during an undercover sting operation. Hammond died at the scene.
10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced along with the release of the videos today that Lt. Tiller will not face charges and that the case is now closed from the state’s standpoint.
Hammond’s family raised questions about the handling of the investigation and had requested the dashcam footage be released. On Tuesday, 93 days after the fatal shooting of their son, the dashcam footage was finally released and it appears to show that the officer was not in danger of being run over as he killed Hammond.
According to Seneca Police Chief John Covington, Hammond drove toward Lt. Tiller in an attempt to murder him. Fearing for his life, Tiller shot Hammond twice at point-blank range killing him. But according to witness statements and Hammond’s autopsy, the teenager was not attempting to run down Tiller in the moments before his death.
Hammond’s autopsy revealed that the teen was shot in the back of his left shoulder and his side.
As Tiller exited his vehicle, he ran to the side of Hammond’s car. Hammond was attempting to leave the scene when Tiller, who in the video is seen moving along with the vehicle with his gun aimed at Hammond and began firing as he screamed, “I’m gonna shoot your f*cking ass!”
Attorneys for Hammond’s parents, Paul and Angie Hammond, said Tuesday that the video does not align with the initial narrative that Hammond was resistant or defiant.
On Tuesday, Paul Hammond said it’s wrong that his son was killed.
Tiller has said that he opened fire in self-defense when Hammond drove the vehicle at him.
Tiller was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.
The Hammonds have filed a lawsuit against the Seneca Police Department and Tiller.
Tiller’s attorneys filed a response Oct. 23. Tiller denies that he used excessive force.
Part 1 of the dashcam videos. Graphic warning.
Part 2 of the dashcam videos. Graphic warning.
A second video from another police cruiser who arrives at the scene shows what happens following the shooting.
In the letter to the State Law Enforcement Division explaining her decision not to file charges, Judicial Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams gave her interpretation of what she said is shown in the video. She said: “The dashcam video shows Lt. Tiller pulling his vehicle behind Hammond’s parked car. Hammond can be seen on video subsequently putting his car in reverse. Hammond is able to reverse and maneuver his vehicle between Tiller’s patrol car and (Seneca police Sgt. B.J.) McClure’s car. Tiller quickly approaches Hammond’s car on the driver’s side with his gun drawn and repeatedly orders Hammond to stop and to show his hands. Hammond then puts his car in drive in order to attempt to flee the scene. Hammond ignores Lt. Tiller’s clear instructions to stop and show his hands. Hammond then puts his car in drive in order to attempt to flee the scene. Hammond then turns the car hard left toward Lt. Tiller resulting in Lt. Tiller being face-to-face with Hammond at the driver’s window. The dashcam video shows Hammond’s vehicle veering toward Lt. Tiller and accelerating rapidly. Tiller back pedals a few steps to avoid being knocked down by Hammond’s car and is seen pushing off the vehicle as it veers towards him. The dashcam video shows Tiller’s feet going underneath the car at the approximate time the shots are fired. This can also be seen in the still photos provided by the FBI lab. Two shots are fired in rapid succession. The first shot can be heard almost immediately after Tiller pushes off the car and when his body is still exposed to danger from the vehicle.
WYFF News 4‘s Mandy Gaither asked Angie Hammond, Zachary’s mother how she felt about the decision. “I’m very disappointed. It’s hard to understand.” she said.
“There are a lot of questions and very sorry police work, very sorry police work,” Paul Hammond told Gaither.” That is not the way things should be handled. My son lost his life and he should not have.”
Read the Chrissy Adams full statement HERE
Watch the full interview with Angie Hammond HERE