(MOBILE, Ala.) "A normal guy," said one student.
"He would never do anything to hurt anyone," said another.
The descriptions by friends of 18 year old Gil Collar sound anything like the erratic and aggressive teenager police say is captured on tape.
Four days after his death, students are still confused and even angry.
And today, about 50 of them took their frustrations to the police station where the Collar was shot to death by a campus officer.
"I don't like the way the situation was handled at all," said USA student Chase Pool. "It definitely could have been handled better, everybody knows that."
Student Joseph Varner organized the protest, a gathering to draw attention not only to what happened, but what might have happened instead.
"Our message today is that we're going to protest until our cops are properly equipped and properly trained" he said, "and that's out message. Get them some tasers, get them some pepper spray and get guns off our campus. We don't need anymore kids getting shot."
As with any issue, there are two sides to every story.
And such was the case this day.
In fact, the other side showed up only a few feet from where the students were protesting.
Stephanie Lowe works at the USA Credit Union, and was happy to see campus police arrive during a recent holdup.
Her position is that the real problem began well before the fatal shot.
"Choices and consequences," said Lowe. "Everyone has choices and consequences. This young gentleman, I hate the situation that happened, he made the choice to drink and do drugs and the consequence wasn't very good. The officer has a choice to make as well. And I think he probably chose the best he knew at that time."
And so a school campus finds itself the center of powerful debate... a lesson in life and death that none of them expected to learn so quickly.
"It's just something that comes with being in the real world," said one sign carry teenaged girl, "and growing up and learning how to deal with things, I guess."