An autopsy shows that 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr., who was fatally shot by an off-duty St. Louis police officer earlier this month, was struck eight times, including six shots from behind, according to the forensic pathologist who performed the independent procedure Thursday.
Dr. Cyril Wecht told reporters at a news conference that the autopsy suggests that Myers was running away from the officer when he was shot, which matches earlier statements from witnesses who claimed that Myers was fleeing the scene when the officer opened fire, the Associated Press reports.
According to AP, Wecht, "who has investigated the deaths of John F. Kennedy, Elvis Presley and JonBenet Ramsey, [and] conducted the autopsy at the request of Vonderrit Myers Jr.'s family," also concluded that Myers was shot six times in both legs. A separate shot shattered Myers' femur, and the fatal wound was on the side of the teen's face.
"The evidence shows that the story we've been given by the Police Department does not match up," one of the Myers family's attorneys, Jerryl Christmas, told AP. "There's no evidence that there was a gun battle going on."
Police officials stated that on Oct. 8 an unnamed police officer, who was still in his police uniform as he moonlighted as a private security guard, saw three men standing. He made a U-turn to question the men, and he claims that they then began to run. The officer gave chase and got into a physical altercation with Myers.
Police Chief Sam Dotson stated at a news conference that Myers broke free from the officer, pulled a gun and fired at him. Dotson claims that Myers fired three shots before his gun jammed. Dotson also said that the officer returned fire, shooting some 17 times, AP reports.
St. Louis Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham conducted a preliminary autopsy, which, according to AP, found that "Myers was shot six to seven times in the lower extremities, with the fatal shot entering the right cheek. The final autopsy report hasn't been released."
After the news conference, police investigators served Wecht with a subpoena to turn over his autopsy report to a grand jury reviewing the case. A police spokeswoman told AP that any information and evidence regarding the independent autopsy would be included in the investigation for local and federal prosecutors to review.
Lab tests by the Missouri State Highway Patrol reportedly showed gunshot residue on Myers' hand, waistband and shirt, which police have stated is consistent with someone who has fired shots.
The unnamed officer's attorney, Brian Millikan, said the results from the independent autopsy don't discredit the police officer's version of the incident. "It's absolutely consistent with what the officer told the investigators from early on," said Millikan, a former St. Louis police officer. "There were no shots fired when [Myers] was running away. That's simply not true."
According to Millikan, the autopsy shows that Myers was shot in the backs of the legs, but the attorney claims that those shots occurred after Myers had been hit and was lying on the ground with the gun in his hand.
"He was propped up on his left elbow, and his legs were facing out at the policeman as he went down, but he was still holding the gun and pointing it at the policeman," Millikan told AP.
The shooting rubbed raw wounds that had not healed from the nearby fatal shooting in Ferguson, Mo., of unarmed teen Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. According to AP, "a grand jury is expected to decide by mid-November whether criminal charges will be filed against Wilson."
Read more at the Associated Press.