Marcus-David L. Peters, 24, who was first tasered, was also unarmed.
It happened on Interstate 95 during rush hour at around 6 p.m. in Richmond, Virginia.
The Richmond Police Department stated Peters was involved in a hit-and-run shortly before he was shot.
“We’re just trying to figure out why this person did the hit-and-run, why he didn’t have any clothes on,” Richmond police spokesman Gene Lepley told KSLA.
Lepley said they tried tasering Peters but officers were forced to use deadly force after he attacked an officer.
“Our officer attempted to use a taser on the person and it failed,” Lepley said.
“The attack continued and the officer drew his service weapon and discharged it striking that man.”
According to a witness, Peters “was naked and rolling around on the interstate for some time before he stood to walk towards the cops. “
“Tasers were drawn and he was told the get down multiple times,” the witness added.
Even though Peters was unarmed, Police Chief Alfred Durham reminded the public that being naked doesn’t “remove a threat.”
“Our officers do not take the use of deadly force lightly,” Durham said.
“I think it’s important to remember that being naked does not remove a threat. So far, the eyewitness accounts we’ve heard have been consistent: our officer tried using verbal commands, then used non-lethal force first by deploying his Taser before using his service weapon.”
“We are all deeply affected by what happened here – by the loss of life.”
A woman walking home saw the shooting and said it’s difficult for her to believe.
“We’ve seen little accidents from time to time, protests,” Vail Shepherd said.
“Normal things to Richmond city, but this is a little bit out of the ordinary I’d say.”
Another witness stated he and his friend heard gunshots as soon as police and Peters disappeared from their sight. As the two drove back by, the witnesses saw the suspect face down in the bushes of the off ramp.
The officer, who has not yet been named, was placed on administrative while the department reviews body cam footage from the incident, which has not yet been released.