Officer Involved in Deadly Shooting Accused of Drawing Gun on St

Officer Involved in Deadly Shooting Accused of Drawing Gun on Student

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Mobile, AL -

A University of South Alabama Police Officer, who shot and killed a student last fall, is once again at the center of an on-campus incident. A student says the officer drew his gun on him and accused him of stealing a car.

John Campbell is an Iraq War vet and a graphic arts student at U-S-A. Ten days ago, as he was leaving campus, his car stalled, apparently out of gas at USA South Drive and University Blvd. A campus officer was quickly on the scene.

“At first he pulled up behind me and told me he was going to help me out and wave the traffic around me until my friend came with the gas,” said Campbell.

15 minutes later when the friend arrived, the mood quickly changed.

“When I got out of my vehicle, (the) officer got out with a gun drawn on me and told me to put my hands on the car and that my vehicle was stolen,” said Campbell.

“And when I got a gun drawn on me I was kind of surprised, and my reaction was ‘Yo – what are doing?’”

The officer who Campbell says drew the gun is Tevis Austin, who less than a year ago shot and killed naked and deranged student Gil Collar outside campus police headquarters. Austin was eventually cleared by a grand jury and returned to work.

Campbell was not on campus last year and says he just learned of the Collar shooting.


 “It gave me concern especially realizing after the fact how aggressive he started out at first,” said Campbell.

Even though the officer checked the Vehicle Identification Number that showed Campbell was the owner of the 1977 Lincoln, Campbell was arrested and charged with felony receiving stolen property.

Campbell has a title, registration, and bill of sale, but the car had apparently been reported stolen several years ago out of Prichard. It’s now impounded at a lot in Theodore, and not only has Campbell not been allowed to get the car, he can’t even get his belongings out of it, including his lap-top and all his school books

Campbell says his professors have been understanding but he’s facing a felony charge that could jeopardize his veterans tuition benefits. It cost him $750 to bond out of jail and it will cost several hundred more to eventually get the car out of the impound lot – far more than the vehicle’s worth.

Meantime, he says he can’t get answers from USA Police or Prichard Police which has been drawn into the case.

“They’re basically pointing fingers at each other,” said Campbell. “When I go to the investigative department here at South Alabama they tell me to call Prichard Police and when I call Prichard Police they say that I need to call South Alabama.”

USA officials would not agree to an interview request. They provided an Incident Report but it does not indicate whether Austin removed his weapon from its holster.

Legal action by the family of Gil Collar continues with lawsuits against Austin and against Chief Zeke Aull.

Collar family attorney Ben Locklar of Montgomery says the suit against the chief alleges he did not properly train, nor equip, his officers. Locklar says the Alabama Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether the case against Chief Aull can proceed. The family’s suit against the University was thrown out as a judge ruled that USA was an arm of the state, and was therefore immune from such legal action.

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