A South Carolina police lieutenant who fatally shot a 19-year-old man during an attempted drug arrest in a parking lot last year has been fired, the police chief said. The officer, Mark Tiller, contended that he was acting in self-defense when the suspect drove a car toward him, reports the New York Times. John Covington, the chief of the police in Seneca, S.C., gave no reason for the termination and declined to answer further questions on what he called a personnel matter. The lieutenant’s final day on the payroll is tomorrow.
Tiller had been on paid administrative leave since the shooting during a sting operation targeting a 19-year-old man, Zachary Hammond, and a female companion. Police officers suspected a drug deal, and Tiller used his patrol car to block Hammond’s vehicle when he pulled into a Hardee’s parking lot. A coroner’s report said Tiller “felt threatened” as Hammond drove his car toward him. Prosecutors did not charge Tiller, saying a dashboard video supported his contention that he believed he was going to be run over.