SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — People in our area and across the country came together Thursday night to remember Christian Hall, a teenager from the Poconos, on the anniversary of his death.
Christian Hall, 19, was fatally shot by Pennsylvania State Police last December on an overpass above Interstate 80 near Stroudsburg.
The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office ruled the shooting justified, saying the lives of the troopers on-scene were in danger.
On that day, one year ago, state police responded to the overpass and saw Hall holding what they believed to be a semi-automatic weapon, which was later identified as a pellet gun.
Investigators stated that in Hall’s final moments he turned the weapon sideways, rotated the barrel forward, and then pointed the gun above his head with his arms up.
Hall’s parents say their son was suffering from a mental health crisis and because his hands were up when police opened fire and killed him in the street, they are calling on state leaders for an independent investigation.
Supporters across the country joined Hall’s family to demand justice.
People clutched signs and luminaries in the pouring rain on courthouse square in Scranton, Thursday night for a somber vigil honoring the life of 19-year-old Christian Hall.
“That could have been me this day last year. This could have happened to somebody that I loved, to a friend. So, to me it’s important that I stand up,” said Jessica Fratzola, Hamlin.
Community members gathered together to demand justice for Hall’s family and shine a light on mental health reform.
Hall’s parents say the adopted teen was diagnosed with depression.
“In Christian’s unique case, he is an adoptee, so we’re also raising the issue of the lack of mental health resources for adoptees in the U.S.,” said Maria Andrews, Lead Organizer, NEPA Stands Up.
The organization ‘NEPA Stands Up’ joins supporters across the nation in remembering Hall and supporting his family.
The vigil featured speeches, testimonies, and a moment of silence.
“For something to happen right in my own backyard where I grew up, obviously it echoes to me. So, for me I just wanted to come out and help and be part of the cause and bring attention,” said John Piserchio, Stroudsburg.
Advocates say Hall will never be forgotten and they will continue to push state leaders to conduct an independent investigation.
“The only way we’re going to change and create the change we want to see is if we unite and if we have the conversations that, yeah, sometimes it’s hard to, but we’re only going to grow stronger, healthier and safer in our communities is we have the courage to talk about it,” explained Andrews