On December 30, 2020, Pennsylvania State Troopers near Stroudsburg shot and killed 19-year-old Christian Hall after a nearly two-hour standoff. Almost one year after his death, police body camera footage revealed the Chinese-American youth, who was in the midst of a mental health crisis, had his hands up in the air at the time of the shooting.
The Monroe County District Attorney's Office previously released the bodycam footage, but the video's final seconds were blurred. The repaired video, obtained by news outlets, shows Hall with his hands in the air at the time of the shooting. According to the Hall family's attorneys, the unredacted footage was released following a subpoena.
Christian's parents, Gareth and Fe Hall, have called for an independent investigation into their son's death.
Distraught and Suicidal Male
In the past five years, roughly 25 percent of individuals fatally shot by police were mentally ill.
Police responded to reports of a "distraught and suicidal male" on the Pennsylvania Route 33 overpass above Interstate 80 in Hamilton County, Monroe Township. Troopers tried to persuade Hall to get off the overpass ledge. Hall was holding a pellet gun resembling a semi-automatic weapon.
The bodycam footage shows Hall had his hands in the air, one hand holding the pellet gun skyward, for 14 seconds before troopers opened fire. He immediately fell to the ground.
The two troopers shot Hall a total of seven times. He later died of his injuries at Lehigh Valley Hospital –Pocono in East Stroudsburg.
Troopers claimed Hall picked up the gun and pointed it at them, resulting in the shooting. The unredacted footage shows that this was not the case.
His parents maintain Christian did not point a weapon at the police; rather he was attempting to surrender. The Hall's lawyer says the Pennsylvania State Police shot and killed a person who was "clearly surrendering" - making it an unlawful homicide.
Hall is not seen pointing the weapon at the police, but he's told to drop the gun numerous times, which he does not do. In March, assistant district attorney Michael Mancuso described the situation as a "classic suicide by cop scenario."
A Generous Heart
According to a Wikipedia entry, Hall was born in Shanghai, China in 2001 and adopted by the Halls, who are of African American and Asian descent, respectively.
He was diagnosed with reactive detachment disorder, a condition that can make it difficult for adopted children to bond with their parents and interact with others. He ran away from home frequently and spent four years in juvenile detention after starting a fire at the family home.
Hall's obituary states he "loved his family, loved life, loved his friends, loved people, loved his pets, loved other people's pets." It adds that he was not shy and talked to people, even strangers, as if he had known them for a long time. "With a generous heart, he would give away his clothes, toys, or money to most who asked."