Atty. for Seneca officer that killed Zachary Hammond releases statement

Picture from SLED video of Hammond shooting
A picture from dash cam video of the shooting of Zachary Hammond. A federal lawsuit is pending.

SENECA, S.C. (WSPA-TV) According to the Seneca Police Department, Lt. Mark Tiller’s last day with the department will be September 9th.

Lt. Tiller was notably involved in the death of Zachary Hammond, who was shot during an alleged drug bust operation July 2015. The State chose not to press charges against Tiller, following their investigation.

Shortly after, this prompted an ongoing federal investigation with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. US Attorneys were not available to answer if the recent termination had any relation to findings in the federal investigation.

The attorney for Lt. Tiller released the following statement:

The Seneca PD has been very tight lipped about Lt. Tiller’s termination. Chief Covington has only referred to this as a ‘personnel matter’ and has given no further details on the termination. After many years of service in law enforcement, it is unfortunate that Lt. Tiller was given such short notice. It makes no sense for the Seneca PD to terminate Lt. Tiller when the state determined there was no basis to press criminal charges. Lt. Tiller looks forward the day when he can share his account of the unfortunate July, 2015 incident.

Seneca Police Chief John Covington released this statement: “I have terminated Mark Tiller’s employment with the Seneca Police Department. His final day on the payroll is effective Friday Sept. 9th. This is a ‘Personnel Matter’ and therefore I am unable to provide any further comment or information beyond this statement.”

Attorneys for the Hammond Family also released a statement, Saturday.

“For reasons not provided although speculation is abound, Chief Covington made the admirable decision to terminate Lt. Tiller’s employment. For that we all are grateful and we want to let Chief Covington know that we appreciate his decision,” the statement read. “After Zachary’s death, the Hammonds placed their faith in the justice system and were hoping that Lt. Tiller was going to have to answer for his actions and the decisions he made which resulted in such a senseless death. With each passing day the Hammonds never lost hope that Lt. Tiller would in the future never again have the highest honor of serving the public as a police officer, wear the uniform and carry a weapon. It appears that today is such a day.”

As news spread of the termination, friends of the Hammond family discovered that the wood memorial cross and flowers placed in front of the Seneca Hardees had been removed from it’s cement and steel bar base. They put up a makeshift memorial, Saturday, with plans to rebuild another cross. Friends would not comment on the timing of the missing memorial and Lt. Tiller’s termination.

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