18-year-old Mansur Ball-Bey was shot and killed by St. Louis police officers this week.
According to the released autopsy, he died from a single gunshot that entered his back and struck his heart — which contradicts the police account of the shooting. They say he pointed a gun directly at officers right before the shooting.
Autopsy results show a bullet struck Ball-Bey in the upper right of his back, hitting his heart and an artery next to it, said St. Louis Chief Medical Examiner Michael Graham.
The autopsy findings appear to contradict the version of the shooting given by police, who said two officers shot at Ball-Bey when he pointed a gun at them as he fled a home where police were serving a search warrant. Police said Ball-Bey dropped his weapon and continued running after he was shot.
The position and track of the bullet, which did not exit Ball-Bey’s body, show that 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 said.
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.”
The results of the autopsy are preliminary and evidence was still being gathered, Dotson said, but he said one witness had corroborated officer accounts that Ball-Bey had a gun.
“The complete truth takes time to put together,” he told a press conference. “We must let the physical evidence lead us to our conclusions.”
Police said they had recovered a gun, which they determined was stolen, though they do not know if Ball-Bey’s finger prints were on it, Dotson said.
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.
A report containing evidence gathered in Ball-Bey’s shooting will be turned over to the city attorney and the U.S. Attorney in St. Louis for review, police officials said.
When will this end?