An 18-year-old black man who was shot and killed by St. Louis police died from a bullet that "entered the middle of his back and lodged near his ribcage," according to the city's chief medical examiner. The report appears to contradict the officer's account of the shooting, which states that Mansur Ball-Bey pointed a gun directly at them, Reuters reports.
According to the police report filed by St. Louis officers, Ball-Bey fled the house where they were serving a search warrant. When police pursued him, he turned and raised his weapon. The officers opened fire; one fired three times, and the other once. Ball-Bey was struck once, after which the police say he dropped his weapon and kept running. However, St. Louis Chief Medical Examiner Michael Graham says it would've been almost impossible for Ball-Bey to keep running after he was hit:
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.
"There are so many variables," said Graham. "But he certainly wasn't facing, his chest wasn't facing the officers."
Ball-Bey's death escalated ongoing tensions between residents and police. Following his death on Wednesday protestors rallied in the street near where he was killed, eventually leading to a stand-off with police, which ended after officers fired tear gas into the crowd. More protests followed Thursday night.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says that the department is still gathering evidence connected to Ball-Bey's case—he stresses that they're "still in the early stages of the investigation, and new facts by themselves do not paint a complete picture." Hours after Dotson's press conference, the city’s prosecutor said her office would start an investigation parallel to the police’s; normally the prosecutor's office waits for police to finish their investigation before beginning its own.