A 20-year-old African-American man, Zikarious Jaquan Flint, is dead after he was shot yesterday afternoon by police on the campus of Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. Witnesses claim the campus police shot unarmed Flint in the back while he was running away from them.
There are major discrepancies between the narrative released by the campus police and the story that witnesses gave to attorney Stacey Jackson, who is acting as a spokesman for the mourning Flint family.
The controversial shooting is already being probed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
The incident occurred at an apartment complex on the university’s main campus, where the family attorney said Flint, who lived in Columbus, was part of a group of friends visiting CSU students.
According to university spokesman John Lester, campus police at 2:35 p.m. were told a man at the Courtyard 1 North apartment complex was putting bullets into a gun. When the officers confronted the suspect minutes later, Lester said, he started running toward the corner of a building. When he faced the officers and raised his arm, they shot him, according to Lester.
Flint was declared dead at 3:29 p.m. in the Midtown Medical Center, according to Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan.
But attorney Jackson said three witnesses told him that Flint was running away when he was shot.
“The three witnesses that I spoke to said Mr. Flint was running away, and he didn’t have any type of weapon in either of his hands while running,” Jackson said Sunday night, according to published reports.
Authorities have not released the name of the officer or said how many times Flint was shot. But Flint’s parents told Jackson their son was shot twice—though they weren’t allowed to see his body.
“They asked to see their son at the hospital, but authorities would not let them see their son,” Jackson told the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer.
The attorney continued: “But they did talk to some medical personnel that described his injuries to him. One shot hit in the back with an exit wound on the stomach. Another shot to the neck-head area where the lower part of the head meets the lower part of your neck. The bullet went through his mouth and may have even broken his jaw.”
Flint’s body is scheduled to be autopsied in Atlanta.
Jackson said he couldn’t speculate why Flint might have run from police.
“I can’t answer that right now,” he said. “There’s some more detail I would like to get from the preliminary results.”
Jackson said the building has video cameras.
“I am hoping the GBI investigates whether the cameras were working and whether any video exists of the shooting,” he said.
Flint had no criminal record, according to his family.
“This is a terrible tragedy,” CSU President Tim Mescon said in a news release. “We will cooperate fully with the investigation by the GBI. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in this, as well as their families.”