ATHENS, Ga. – Body cam footage released by authorities on Tuesday shows two Athens-Clark County police officers pleading with a man holding a knife before opening fire, killing the suspect.
Police originally came into contact with 23-year-old Aaron Hong on Monday when responding to a call about a man acting “erratically” and clutching a large knife and covered in blood said Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill.
Authorities said that Hong was “using the knife in an aggressive manner and appeared to be injured himself.”
Hong appears to walk toward the officers as they scream repeatedly for him to drop the knife. Hong can be heard screaming, “just do it!” over and over while continuing to advance on the officers. The officers continue to yell back, “no!” as they retreat, begging Hong to drop the knife.
“We can help you,” they can be heard yelling.
Two officers, David Harrison and Charles Bidinger, fired at Hong during the incident. A third officer at the scene did not use his weapon during the encounter. Investigators said that the blood that Hong was covered in was his own.
Chief Spruill said the officers tried a number of times to get Hong to drop the knife. In the body cam video, both officers can be heard saying, “Put the knife down. Sir, please, put the knife down.”
“However, he disregarded these commands and began to advance at the officers,” Spruill said. In the video you can see how far the officers retreat from the suspect, hoping they won’t have to use force.
Officer Harrison can be heard yelling, “no, no, no,” before opening fire on Hong five times.
The suspect initially falls to the ground but then gets back up and charges toward Harrison again. The video shows him grabbing the officer and wrestling with him, dragging him to the ground in a headlock.
That’s when Officer Bidinger fired at Hong three times, ending the struggle.
The video of the incident from one angle can be seen below. Viewer discretion is advised.
Another angle shows Harrison’s perspective.
Emergency crews arrived at the scene and paramedics tried to treat Hong for his injuries, but he died from his wounds.
Spruill said that one of the officers was injured during the incident but the minor wound was treated at the scene.
Officer Harrison has been with the police department for seven years, Athens officials said. This was Bidinger’s first year with the department. Both are on administrative leave pending an investigation, Spruill said.