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Autopsy: Man who was shot by Macon police fatally shot himself in the head

An autopsy revealed the man who was shot by Macon police Monday after fleeing from an armed robbery at a Checkers restaurant died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said Tuesday.

Benjamin Hill, 27, was shot once in the head with a 9 mm handgun, Jones said.

While examining Hill’s body, the medical examiner found a contact wound on his head that is consistent with someone shooting himself in the head, Jones said.

Hill, of Alview Drive, also was shot twice in the shoulder by police.

“We can’t tell the order of the wounds,” Jones said.

Hill was carrying a 9 mm handgun, said Sgt. Melanie Hofmann, police spokeswoman.

She said two officers are on administrative leave in connection with the shooting.

A Checkers employee told police she went outside to move her car about 9:30 a.m. Monday and was approached by a man wearing a black hooded shirt, according to a police report released Tuesday.

The employee ran across Spring Street to the Exxon gas station after the man threatened her with a gun and demanded money, according to the report.

Other employees inside the Checkers told police the gunman entered the restaurant, pointed a gun at them, demanded money and demanded that they open the safe, according to the report.

When the employees replied that they couldn’t open the safe the gunman ran away, according to the report.

Driving on Spring Street headed toward Gray Highway, Brandi Williams said she nearly hit the employee with her car as she ran across the road.

“You could see in her face how terrified she was,” Williams said.

She watched as the employee continued running to the Exxon gas station and as the woman struggled with the door to go in.

Initially, Williams said she thought Checkers must have been on fire, but then she saw a man run out dressed in black, putting what she assumed was a gun into his pants.

Williams called 911 as she made a U-turn to follow the man as he ran up Riverside Drive.

After dispatchers confirmed there had been a robbery at Checkers, Williams continued to follow the man while relaying information to the police.

The man stopped running on Riverside Drive and took off the hood he’d been wearing, Williams said.“It seemed like he was trying to blend in,” she said.

Then a car pulled into a business parking lot and the man got inside.

Using a pen her 8-year-old daughter handed to her, Williams said she wrote the car’s tag number on her hand as she passed by.

She drove slowly, allowing the car to pull onto the road just behind her and pass her.

From there, Williams said she followed the car, staying two or three car lengths behind, until she reached a stop sign in the area of Hardeman Avenue and Pursley Street where a car had gotten between her and the robbers’ car.

Not being sure which direction the robbers’ car turned, Williams turned right and realized the car had turned left.

That’s when a dispatcher told her police had picked up the chase.

Hill got out of the car near the intersection of Capitol Avenue and Toombs Street and fled into a vacant apartment, according to the police.

When officers started to check the building, Hill started shooting at police. Hill escaped out of a broken front window and continued to shoot at police who returned fire, according to the police.

Officers continued to chase Eric Laren Daniels, 26, in the car until he wrecked the vehicle at the corner of Mead and Guy Paine roads. Daniels was charged with armed robbery and violating probation, according to the police.

Daniels is being held at the Bibb County jail without bond, according to jail records.

Williams said her decision to follow the robbery suspects’ car was an instinctive one — one she’d do again if faced with the same decision.

“It’s your gut instinct when you see something bad to try and fix the problem,” she said.

Information from The Telegraph Archives was included in this report.

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