St Louis teen shot from behind, autopsy report indicates

Autopsy report of black teen reveals he died from single gunshot wound to his back, contradicting police reports

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US police arrest a protester in the middle of the street after shooting incident of Mansuer Ball-Bey in St. Louis, Missouri August 19, 2015

The preliminary autopsy report of the black teenager who was shot and killed by white St. Louis police officers appears to contradict the police records.

As protesters and family of the killed 18-year-old questioned police accounts claiming Mansuer Ball-Bey pointed a gun at officers, news of the preliminary results of an autopsy escalated tensions that had flared after Wednesday's killing.


St. Louis Chief Medical Examiner Michael Graham said autopsy results showed a single bullet struck Ball-Bey that entered through his back, hitting his heart and an artery next to it.

However, the position and track of the bullet did not exit Ball-Bey's body, which show he was not turned toward officers when he was shot, Graham said.

“The shot would have killed him nearly instantly, making it difficult if not impossible for him to keep running, though if he was running there would have been some forward momentum,” Graham added.

Graham said it was impossible to tell from the autopsy whether Ball-Bey was slightly turned, or was twisting his torso toward officers when he was shot.

"There are so many variables," said Graham. "But he certainly wasn't facing, his chest wasn't facing the officers."

Jermaine Wooten, an attorney representing Ball-Bey's family, told CNN Friday no witnesses had seen the teenager with a gun.

Wooten said Ball-Bey did not live in the community and was visiting relatives, but not at the house where police were serving the warrant, he said.

"He never had a gun. He did not point back toward the officers," Wooten told CNN. He said Ball-Bey could not have run more than a few feet after being shot, which contradicts police statements.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson also said that the results of the autopsy are preliminary and evidence was still being gathered, but he added a witness had corroborated officer accounts that Ball-Bey had a gun.

"The complete truth takes time to put together," he stated in a press conference. "We must let the physical evidence lead us to our conclusions."

Upon the angry confrontations on Wednesday night, with more that followed on Thursday night, officers fired tear gas, equipped with riot gear. 

Additional protests are planned for the weekend, according to social media posts by activists, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said increased number of officers would be available for the weekend in anticipation of further protesting events.

St. Louis' elected prosecutor, Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce, said on Friday, her office would start investigating before the police turn over the results of their own investigation.

“Our investigation will be independent from the one St. Louis police are conducting,” she assured St. Louisans at a news conference

"I don't work for the police chief," said Joyce. "I don't work for the mayor. I am elected separately. When police have committed a crime, I hold them accountable."

Two weeks ago the St. Louis area was filled with protesters from across the country, marking the anniversary of the Aug. 9 2014, killing of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown's death was one of the many cases of police killings of unarmed black men  across the United States that triggered the civil rights movement under the banner "Black Lives Matter.”

TRTWorld and agencies