A preliminary private autopsy has concluded that Michael Brown, the black teen killed by a police officer in the suburban city of Ferguson in St Louis, was shot at least six times, the New York Times reported on Sunday night.
Citing Dr Michael M Baden, former chief medical examiner for the City of New York who was asked to perform the autopsy by Brown’s family, the newspaper reported that Brown (18) was shot twice in the head. The bullets that hit him did not appear to have been fired from very close range.
Four shots hit Brown in his right arm and one entered the top of his skull, the Times said, citing findings by Baden, who it said flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s behest and waived his usual fee in view of the extraordinary circumstances.
The bullets, some of which left as many as five wounds, did not appear to have been fired from very close range, the Times reported, because no gunpowder was detected on the body. That conclusion could change, however, if gunshot residue is found on Brown’s clothing, the newspaper said.
An additional autopsy was performed by Missouri officials, and Attorney General Eric Holder has said the department of justice would also be carrying out its own autopsy.
A spokesperson for the Ferguson police said the department had not seen a report of the autopsy and had no comment to make.
Shot by officer
Brown was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. The police department in the St Louis suburb has come under strong criticism for both the death of an unarmed man and its handling of subsequent protests.
Unrest has gripped the area for days, including the past two nights despite a midnight curfew.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on day one,” Baden told the Times in an interview after performing the autopsy.
“They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Baden said his autopsy was not intended to determine whether the shooting was justified.
“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times’,” he told the Times. “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting.”
Baden also said only three bullets were recovered from Brown’s body, but that he had not yet seen the X-rays showing where the bullets were found which would help clarify the autopsy results. – Reuters