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'He was very peaceful': Those close to Anthony Hill were in disbelief at shooting

Anthony Hill's mother and an office worker at the apartment complex where he lived were among the early witnesses in the trial against the officer who killed him.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Anthony Hill's mom spoke haltingly about her child in a brief testimony during the murder trial against the officer who shot and killed him four years ago. But one message came through clear.

"He was very peaceful," the mother, Carolyn Giummo, said.

Giummo and another woman who testified on Thursday, Grisselle Torres, both evoked disbelief that the Anthony Hill they knew - kind, happy, peaceful - could have been considered a threatening figure.

Lawyers for the former officer who shot him, Robert Olsen, have argued in the handful of seconds he had to react as he arrived on the scene where Hill was roaming naked and unarmed on March 9, 2015, the cop was "scared to death" as the Air Force veteran ran at him.

Thursday was the first day of the trial. The second progressed on Friday, and the trial will resume on Tuesday.

An office manager at the apartment complex where Hill lived and was shot, and who called 911 that day, tearfully recalled in her testimony that she did so "to help him."

Torres told the court she wanted police "to come and check on him, because he was not acting normal."

"He was not acting normal to me, that was not the Anthony that I knew," she said.

Still, she said, she was not afraid he would hurt her. A prosecutor asked her if she was afraid at all. She answered no.


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Hill's mother, who was the first person to testify in the trial, briefly and reservedly recounted the details of his life: He was born June 15, 1988 and raised in Moncks Corner, South Carolina. He went to the University of South Carolina, but left school before graduating to join the Air Force.

It was during his service, which included time in Afghanistan, that he developed PTSD and bipolar disorder, Giummo testified.

He had medically retired due to the mental health issues, she said, and was taking medication for them.

The day he was shot, she testified that he was off the medication.

That day is at the center of the trial. In opening statements earlier Thursday, prosecutor Buffy Thomas argued it was incomprehensible that anyone would think Hill posed a serious threat.

"Anthony Hill had his hands up, his arms up as he's running," Thomas argued. "And then his arms were by his side, hands visible, he was stark naked, he had no clothes on, nowhere to hide a weapon, no weapon in his hand, he never uttered a word as he's running toward the officer."

Olsen's lead defense lawyer, Don Samuel, countered that as the cop arrived, not knowing anything about Hill or his history, he got out of his car and saw only a naked man running at him who wouldn't slow down as he pointed his gun and shouted, "Stop! Stop!"

The encounter between the two men, which lasted six or seven seconds in its entirety by Samuel's estimate, ended with Olsen shooting Hill.

Torres, the office manager who knew Hill well, said she heard the gunshots ring out and then rushed to the devastating scene.

"I left the office, I went over there and I went to the - I'm sorry," she said, stopping, overcome with emotion. "To the scene. He was laying down on the floor, naked, bleeding. And then I was like, 'Why did you shoot him?'"

"It was not my intention for him to be shot," she said.

Bookmark: Watch the Robert Olsen trial here.

More background on the case

Former DeKalb Police officer accused of killing naked, unarmed veteran rejected plea deal

Former cop pleads not guilty of murder charges in Anthony Hill shooting

Report details previous complaint against indicted officer

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