Zachary Hammond, 19, of Seneca, South Carolina, was shot and killed by a police officer on July 26 during an undercover drug bust at a Hardee’s restaurant. The unarmed teen apparently was on a first date with 23-year-old Tori Morton and sitting in a vehicle in the parking lot, according to the Carolina Live.
Lt. Mark Tiller claims that he was in fear of his life when he saw the vehicle Zachary was operating accelerating towards him. Out of self-defense, he pulled out his firearm and shot the teen twice in the shoulder and in the chest through the window. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene. However, his parents, Angie and Paul, are furious after learning that the officer desecrated their son’s remains.
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An eyewitness stated that after the South Carolina officer shot and killed the teen, he stood over his body, picked up his limped hand, and gave him a high-five. After learning of this new information, the Hammonds’ attorney, Eric Bland, wrote to the U.S Attorney General and the FBI Director, saying that a witness “states that the officer who opened Zachary’s door and pulled his dead body from the vehicle then went ‘to the trunk of his police car and pulled something out.'”
“The officer walked back over to the man on the ground rolled him over to his side, put something underneath his body, and then rolled him back. A police officer with a neighboring police force has confirmed to SLED that the Seneca Police Department celebrated the killing of Zachary by desecrating his corpse.”
“After Zachary had been shot and killed, member(s) of the Seneca Police Department lifted his dead hand and ‘high fived’ Zachary Hammond,” Bland continued.
The family wants the officer to be charged in the shooting death of their son, and they’re also stunned to see the lack of attention the case has received. They told NEWS ABC 13 that their race could be a factor.
“I hate to say it, but, it’s because he’s white and the police officer is white. So, there’s not a big uproar,” Zachary’s father, Paul Hammond, stated.
“It’s sad, but I think the reason is, unfortunately, the media and our government officials have treated the death of an unarmed white teenager differently than they would have if this were a death of an unarmed black teen. The hypocrisy that has been shown toward this is really disconcerting.”
According to Zachary’s parents, South Carolina police have yet to speak with them about what led up to the shooting death of their son. They became suspicious after receiving their son’s autopsy reports, claiming that there has to be more to the story.
“They wouldn’t give us the police report; they told us SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) had it,” Paul added.
“We did get the feeling that he felt like something wasn’t quite right. He told us where the wounds were and it just didn’t make sense as to what went on,” Angie said. “They kept saying he was shot in the chest. He wasn’t shot in the chest. He was shot in the shoulder and the side and it went through his chest.”
Lt. Mark Tiller has since been placed on administrative leave while South Carolina police continue to investigate the shooting death of Zachary Hammond.
[Image via YouTube Screen Capture]