Aunt Alexandra put her hands to her mouth.
'They shot him,' said Atticus. 'He was running. It was during their exercise period. They said he just broke into a blind raving charge at the fence and started climbing over. Right in front of them-'" Page 235
Tom Robinson never harmed a soul, but was convicted and awaiting his appeal in a local prison. Atticus believes Tom hated being imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, and could not imagine going through another trial. Atticus believes the stress of the situation and the inevitability of struggle and pain led Tom to run.