By Joe Johnson
The man who was shot and killed by police in Athens Monday afternoon was identified by authorities Tuesday morning as 23-year-old Aaron Hong.
According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which is reviewing the incident, two Athens-Clarke County police officers responded at about 12:30 p.m. to the River Club apartment complex off Macon Highway where several 911 callers reported that Hong was causing a disturbance with a butcher knife.
“Hong was using the knife in an aggressive manner and appeared to be injured himself,” according to the GBI.
Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Cleveland Spruill said that Hong was covered with his own blood when officers encountered him.
He said the officers were justified in shooting Hong.
When police made contact, Hong immediately began to walk towards officers with the knife, disregarding numerous commands to drop the weapon, according to body camera video from both officers that police released on Tuesday.
The video shows the officers retreating from the advancing armed man while pleading with Hong to drop the knife.
Video footage shows Hong charging at Senior Police Officers David Harrison, who shoots the man several times.
Though wounded Hong managed to get back up and again charged Harrison and after grabbing the officer, Hong tried to take Harrison‘s gun.
Officer Charles Bidinger then fired more shots at Hong, who police said died at the scene.
Harrison sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
GBI Public Information Officer Nelly Miles said she did not have an address for Hong, but added that “he was living in Athens most recently.”
Although the River Club is advertised as providing off-campus housing for University of Georgia students, Spruill said that Hong was not enrolled at UGA but was known to frequent the apartment complex.
The GBI will continue its independent investigation.
The two officers who discharged their weapons were placed on paid administrative leave pending the findings of a preliminary investigation, the police chief said.
They were identified by police as Senior Police Officer David Harrison, a 7-year ACCPD veteran and Officer Charles Bidinger, who is in his rookie year with ACCPD.
Anyone with information concerning this incident is urged to contact the GBI's Athens field office at (706) 552-2309. When the investigation is complete, it will be turned over to the Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for review.
Miles noted that the incident was the 39th officer-involved shooting the GBI has investigated this year. Three of those shootings occurred in Athens.