What we know about the fatal shooting of Andre Hill, a Black man, by Columbus police

Bethany Bruner
The Columbus Dispatch

On Dec. 22, Columbus police responded to a non-emergency disturbance call made by a neighbor on the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive on the city's Northwest Side about a man sitting for an extended period of time in an SUV that was running off and on. 

A short time later, the man, identified Wednesday as 47-year-old Andre Maurice Hill, was dead after being shot by a responding officer. 

The shooting comes at the end of a year that has seen protests across the nation against racial injustice by law enforcement in response to several high-profile shooting incidents, including the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

It also comes less than three weeks after 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. was fatally shot Dec. 4 at his Northland-area residence by Franklin County Sheriff's SWAT deputy Jason Meade.  The Goodson investigation is being conducted by Columbus police, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. It is being overseen by David DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. 

The investigation into the latest shooting early Tuesday is being handled by the Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation and is ongoing. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has been appointed the special prosecutor in the case. Here is what is known so far:

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther (center) and Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus prepare to speak outside of Columbus City Hall following an officer-involved shooting that morning on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at the 1000 block of Oberlin Dr. in Columbus, Ohio. At about 1:30 a.m., Columbus Division of Police officers responded to a disturbance and while at the scene interacted with a man who was shot by an officer and later died.

Who was involved in the latest shooting?

We know the shooting involved a Columbus police officer, Adam Coy, and a 47-year-old Black man, Andre Hill.

On Wednesday morning, the officer was identified as Coy, 44 years old and a 19-year member of the division. Coy, who is white, has a history of complaints against him and was suspended in 2012 for 160 hours following an incident in which he pushed a driver's head against the hood of a car four times during a traffic stop for drunk driving. The city paid the driver $45,000 in that instance. 

Hill was identified as the victim by the city on Wednesday afternoon.

Hill's family and friends have spoken publicly about him as a protective father, talented cook and giving friend. Hill, known to friends and family as Big Daddy, also was passionate about people, active in Black Lives Matter causes

What happened?

The city Department of Public Safety released a statement the day of the shooting about what was known from the early investigation, including a review of bodycam footage.

Officers had been dispatched at 1:37 a.m. Tuesday on a non-emergency disturbance call about a man in a SUV that had been turned on and off multiple times over a period of time. 

When officers arrived, according to the city's statement, they found a garage door open at a home on the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive and a man inside the garage. The man, Hill, approached police with a cellphone in one hand and the other hand not visible. 

That's when one of the officers shot Hill, who was visiting there. He was rushed to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he died. 

More:Unarmed Black man fatally shot by Columbus police officer responding to noise complaint

Is there video of the shooting?

Yes. The officers who responded to the complaint were wearing body cameras. However, the city statement said the officers did not turn those cameras on until after the shooting had occurred. 

Because of a feature on the cameras called a "look-back," the shooting was captured by the cameras. However, the look-back feature does not capture audio recording, so there is no audio available of what was said between the man and the officers before the shooting.  

The bodycam video was released Dec. 23 to the public after Hill's family reviewed it.

More:Here's video and a timeline of the Andre Hill shooting by Columbus police 

There is no dash camera footage because it was a non-emergency call and the responding officers did not respond with lights and sirens on, which automatically activates the dash camera. 

What's in the bodycam video?

The bodycam video shows the moment when Coy fatally shot Hill. 

Hill, who later was determined to be a guest at the home, has his back turned to police as they approach the home. Coy, 44, has his gun drawn, and Hill turns around on the right side of a vehicle in the garage and takes four steps toward the officers with his cellphone in his left hand and his right hand in the pocket of his winter coat. Coy then shoots Hill as he approaches the entrance to the garage.

The bodycam video shows Coy pacing around the driveway for several minutes after the shooting without helping Hill.

Has any other evidence been disclosed?

No weapon was recovered at the scene, the city statement said, which means Hill was not armed.

Investigative documents were released Tuesday, Dec. 29, including an interview with the second officer on the scene. She told investigators that Coy yelled that he saw a weapon in Hill's hand before she heard gunfire. That officer did not see a weapon.

Investigation:Second officer at Andre Hill shooting gives account of incident

The body camera footage also indicated there was a delay in rendering medical aid to Hill.

Monday, a preliminary report from the Franklin County coroner's office determined Hill's death to caused by multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner's office said in a media release. A full autopsy report is expected in 12 to 14 weeks.

The death was classified as a homicide, meaning it was caused by another person. 

Additional information such as forensic testing will not be made available for weeks or months. 

What will happen to the officer involved?

The officer was initially placed on administrative leave, in accordance with police policy. Mayor Andrew Ginther called first for Coyto be relieved of duty, then said he should be terminated from his job.

Coy was indeed fired by Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus on a recommendation from Police Chief Thomas Quinlan. 

How is the investigation being conducted?

In accordance with a policy put in place this past summer, BCI is leading the investigation into the shooting. Under the memorandum of understanding between the city and the attorney general's office, BCI now handles the investigation of all shootings, both lethal and non-lethal, involving Columbus police.

Following the shooting of Goodson, which occurred within the city but did not involve Columbus police officers, Ginther said he has directed police to ask BCI to investigate all law-enforcement shootings that occur within the city of Columbus, regardless of the agency involved. 

Ginther has also asked David DeVillers, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio whose office is overseeing the Goodson case, to review the latest shooting case to determine if the man's civil rights were violated.

What will happen after the investigation is completed?

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and his office will handle any potential criminal investigation into Coy or other officers, including presentation of the case to a grand jury when the investigation is completed.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, whose term ends on Jan. 3, filed a motion in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to appoint Yost as a special prosecutor in the case. The appointment will allow for consistency as incoming prosecutor Gary Tyack takes office in early January.