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Cell phone video showing moments after Anthony Hill was shot takes focus of Olsen trial testimony

Anthony Hill’s neighbor testified about hearing shots and recording the moments after the veteran was shot by then-DeKalb Police officer Robert “Chip” Olsen.

DECATUR, Ga. — Araceli Vega testified through an interpreter that she went onto the balcony of her apartment at The Heights at Chamblee as soon as she heard shots on March 9, 2015, the day Anthony Hill was killed.

Hill, a 26-year-old Air Force veteran who'd served in Afghanistan, was shot two times by Olsen in the parking lot of his apartment complex. He was unarmed and naked when he was shot. 

Olsen said Hill rushed at him and he was in fear for his life when he shot him twice. Olsen was equipped with a gun, taser, pepper spray made, and a baton. The officer used only the gun and shot Hill twice.

Hill had been diagnosed as bipolar and was medically retired from the Air Force. His family said he has post traumatic stress disorder and that he'd stopped taking his medication at the time of the shooting. 

None of this was known to Officer Olsen.

Olsen is facing a total of six charges:

  • Two counts of felony murder
  • One count of aggravated assault
  • One count of making a false statement
  • Two counts of violation of oath by a public officer

Vega, Hill’s neighbor, said she had just returned home from the store when she heard yelling and gunshots in the parking lot. She then walked to the balcony of her third floor apartment and began to record video on her cell phone.

Vega said when she first walked outside, Hill and Olsen were six to seven feet apart. She said Hill was on the ground already and bleeding when she saw him.

The court then played the video and the jurors paid careful attention to it. You could hear Vega and another person in her apartment conversing in Spanish. You could also hear, at times, Olsen speaking to witnesses at the scene. He told one of them to stay away from the crime scene and to sit down where he was. The video showed several witnesses milling about the parking lot.

Upon cross examination by the defense, Vega told the court she did not see Hill when he was shot. She only saw the aftermath. When asked by defense attorney Amanda Clark Palmer if Hill and Olsen could have been closer during the shooting than the six to seven feet she saw, Vega said that was possible.

GBI Testimony

A crime scene investigator, Joshua Ellis, from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) took the stand Tuesday morning. He showed photos of the crime scene and introduced evidence he garnered from the scene. That included Olsen’s gun and two shell casings found in the parking lot where Hill was shot.

Ellis also testified about blood spatter found on Olsen’s boots.

(Amanda Clark Palmer, defense attorney): Other than the whole scene (around body), there wasn't anywhere else at The Heights at Chamblee apartments where you saw what you thought could be blood?

(Joshua Ellis, GBI): No. It was all localized to the area around the body.

(Clark Palmer): And nothing you thought could be blood was back by Officer Olsen's car?

(Ellis): Not that I observed.

(Clark Palmer): Not by the driver's side of his (Olsen's) door?

(Ellis): Correct

(Clark Palmer): Not by the back bumper?

(Ellis): Correct.

Clark Palmer asked if the blood could have spattered onto Olsen when Hill was shot, if the two were in close proximity. Ellis said that was a possibility.

Medical examiner testimony

Dr. Geoffrey Smith, the Deputy Chief Medical Examiner in DeKalb County testified the trajectory of the bullet wounds indicated Hill was crouching or bending down when he was shot. Smith told the jury Hill’s wounds indicated evasive actions.

“When an individual sees someone pointing a gun, the reaction to that might be to make yourself a smaller target if such a thing is possible,” testified Dr. Smith.


The deputy medical examiner crouched down on the stand to show the jury what he meant.

Olsen’s interview after shooting

GBI Special Agent Clint Thomas took the stand Tuesday afternoon. The courtroom heard the hour-plus long interview he did with Olsen in the days after Hill was shot.

You can hear Olsen telling Thomas about the moments surrounding the shooting. Olsen said as soon as his car was spotted by Hill, the man began sprinting toward his vehicle. When Olsen stopped his vehicle and got out he yelled ‘Stop’ but Hill had no response. He said when Hill reached the front of his car, he spread his arms wide. Olsen noticed no weapons. He yelled stop again but when Hill didn’t, he fired his weapon twice.

Other notes from Olsen’s interview with the GBI:

  • Thought Hill could have been on drugs
  • Was worried about hand to hand fighting with a naked individual
  • Thought Hill was a big guy “football player” type build
  • Noticed Hill’s bulging muscles and quadriceps as he was running

During the moments of the interview when Olsen recounted the shooting, Olsen closed his eyes, shook his head, pursed his lips, blinked rapidly and appeared to be holding back tears.

The jury followed along with a printed transcript. They were making notes and seemed to be rapt with attention.

Testimony resumes on Wednesday morning with cross examination of GBI Special Agent Thomas.


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