(MOBILE, Ala.) - Friends describe Gil Collar as a laid-back, easy-going young man who never lost his temper --- not anything like the erratic freshman University of South Alabama Police say was nude, banging on the police station’s door early Saturday morning, and lunged at an officer before being shot dead.
“I’ve never seen Gil get mad at anybody,” a friend who wished to remain anonymous told Local 15. “The weird part about it is I just saw Gil a few hours before he was shot.”
The friend said he wrestled against Gil in high school, became close friends, and then carried that friendship on to USA as freshmen. The friend had to attend a funeral Friday, and gave Collar a free Bayfest ticket.
“I told him to have a good time,” the friend said. “Hours later after the funeral, my friend called me just ballin’. He said I hate to be the one to tell you this, but I think Gil’s dead. I think he’s gone.”
The friend said he’s heard why Collar may have been acting erratically, but would not go into detail.
“He just made a few bad decisions,” Collar’s friend said. “It’s not fair to his family’s privacy. I don’t think he would want me to explain to y’all.”
The victim’s friends are questioning why Collar, naked and unarmed, had to be shot in the chest.
”I understand he wasn’t in his right mind, but I wish police were able to explain why they went straight to deadly force,” Collar’s friend said. “Call for backup, use a taser, use Mace, rather than straight to a gun. One bullet. I feel like that’s uncalled for.”
Campus police will not confirm whether or not their officers carry tasers. A surveillance camera perched near the police station’s door may have captured some if not most of the incident and could provide important clues for the investigation.
There’s been a rampant rumor on campus that it was a fraternity prank gone wrong, but Collar’s friend said Gil wasn’t rushing or planning to pledge Pi Kappa Phi. He added that while Collar had lots of wrestling friends in the fraternity and hung out at the house a lot, he was with a different group of friends on the night he was shot.