TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Tallahassee man has been charged with attempted murder after he was caught on a city bus's camera choking a victim until he passed out.
Gayson Mills, 40, has been charged with attempted second degree murder and aggravated battery.
According to court documents, officers were called to the area of Stadium Drive and Hendry Street on July 20 about a fight on a city bus. When they arrived, they spoke with Mills, the victim, and several witnesses.
When officers spoke to the victim, they noticed he had several injuries around his left eye and bite marks on the base of his neck that he didn't have prior to the fight. The victim was transported to the hospital for a fractured orbital bone.
Documents say the victim later told officers that he was seated on the back rows of the bus between his girlfriend and Mills when he asked Mills for his hat.
Mills told him no. He said Mills then began to yell at him, before standing up and hitting him in the face. The victim said Mills also grabbed him in a "choke hold," and said he remembered not being able to breathe.
However, according to court documents, police spoke to witnesses who said the victim repeatedly asked Mills for his hat before the fight, one witness saying the victim even provoked Mills verbally.
But like the victim's story, the witnesses said Mills got extremely agitated, started assaulting the victim and tried to "choke him to death."
When officers spoke to Mills, he stated that the victim was harassing him about his hat and added he was being physically harassing as well. He told investigators the victim pushed him, tried to take his bag, and threatened him, leading to the fight.
Mills admitted to biting and choking the victim in order to defend himself.
Based on the conflicting reports, police were unable to make an arrest then but later obtained video of the fight from the bus camera system.
Documents say the video showed the victim saying to Mills, "Let me get that hat," at least twice before asking Mills, "what's in that bag?" Investigators say Mills' response couldn't be heard, but note the victim made no motion to grab the bag.
The victim leaned back into his seat, while he and Mills continue talking. Documents say the video then shows Mills suddenly tensing and removing his hat while talking.
At one point, investigators say Mills abruptly looked at the victim, saying "What?!" The victim then says something that can't be heard on the recording and Mills stands up, punching the victim while he was still laying back.
The video shows Mills hitting the victim several times before grabbing his head and choking him. The victim was able to get to his feet, but Mills continued choking and throwing the victim around the bus.
Eventually, Mills climbed on the victim and used his legs to tighten the hold. Police say the video showed Mills biting the victim before he released him.
Investigators write that the victim was limp and seemingly unconscious as Mills punched him in the face twice. The victim can then be seen coming to as Mills starts choking him again and hitting him with his knees.
Eventually, bus riders were able to pry the victim from Mills' grasp. Upon review, police determined the victim did provoke Mills, but was not threatening.
Based on the evidence, police charged Mills with attempted second degree murder and aggravated battery. He was taken into custody on Wednesday.
Court records say this is the second time Mills has been arrested on violent charges. He was arrested on attempted murder charges in 2012.