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Morehouse associate athletic director on administrative leave following double shooting

One of the people shot was trying to intervene in the fight, according to the APD police report.
Credit: Fulton County
Phillip Thomas

ATLANTA — Morehouse College has placed an associate athletic director, Dr. Phillip Thomas, on administrative leave following a double shooting that happened last month.

A police report from Atlanta Police indicates officers were called to the S. Elizabeth Place NW after two people were hurt at a home on the night of May 15.

A witness told police Thomas got into an argument with two people over "fraternity things."

The events led to the shooting where one of the men in the fight and another person trying to break up the argument were shot.

Here is how it unfolded, according to the police report.

At some point, the argument between the three men became physical between just the two others outside of Thomas.

Once they separated, people started leaving. But while outside, things took a turn once again. 

A witness told officers she overheard Thomas saying he was going to shoot one of the men involved in the fight, according to the report.

The police report indicated a man (who wasn't involved in the altercation) was standing near Thomas' car when one of the men from fight ran towards them. This was also the same man the witness claimed she overheard Thomas say he would shoot, the report indicated.

The man standing near the car tried to intervene. The report claims, however, the man was able to break free towards Thomas. This prompted the suspect to shoot him; the bullet hit him in the stomach, the report said. 

During the struggle, the man who tried to break up the fight was also injured. The report said the same bullet struck him in the right leg.

The witness told police Thomas put the man who was hurt in the crossfire in his car. Someone else picked up the other shooting victim; Both of them were taken to the hospital.

Other witness accounts also outline what happened during the fight.

One person said he heard the man in the fight tell Thomas before the shooting happened, "what's up, you're going to have to shoot me." He claimed Thomas already had the gun out as the victim approached. Another witness told police, according to the report, he saw the suspect place a towel over the gun and waited for the victim to approach him. 

Credit: Fulton County
Phillip Thomas

Police also included Thomas' side of the story in their report. They said he mentioned the man charged at him with a hand behind his back and made a threat. When he came closer and he raised his hands, that's when Thomas allegedly fired his gun. He told officers he didn't see the man with a weapon; the report added Thomas didn't realize the bullet also struck the bystander who tried the break up the fight.

A spokesperson for Morehouse College released the following statement about Thomas' administrative leave: 

"Morehouse College expects staff members to exemplify our values on and off campus. We have been made aware of the action taken by the City of Atlanta Police Department regarding Dr. Phillip Thomas based on allegations concerning events unrelated to Morehouse. He has been placed on administrative leave as we monitor the progress of the City of Atlanta Police Department's investigation and conduct our own due diligence."