Vonderrit Myers Jr. was shot eight times, including six times from behind, by an off-duty St. Louis police officer earlier this month, The Associated Press reported, citing an autopsy report by a forensic pathologist Thursday. Myers' death came nearly two months after a white police officer fatally shot another black teen, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
The independent autopsy, which was conducted by Dr. Cyril Wecht at the request of Myers’ family, reportedly revealed that the 18-year-old black teen was running away from the officer. It’s likely that Myers was shot six times in the back of both legs, Wecht reportedly said during a news conference. Wecht added that a wound to the side of Myers’ face likely caused his death.
"The evidence shows that the story we've been given by the Police Department does not match up," Jerryl Christmas, one of the family’s attorneys said, according to AP. "There's no evidence that there was a gun battle going on."
St. Louis police had reportedly said that Myers first shot at the officer. Police Chief Sam Dotson reportedly said that the black teen had fired three shots before his gun jammed, AP reported. A Missouri State Highway Patrol report revealed that Myers had gunshot residue on his hands and clothing.
“The presence of gunshot residue on a person’s hands could mean the individual discharged a firearm, was near a firearm when it was discharged or touched an object with gunshot residue on it. Individuals shot at close range can have gunshot residue deposited onto their hands,” the statement read.
Brian Millikan, the attorney for the officer who shot Myers, reportedly said that the independent autopsy results also support the police account.
"It's absolutely consistent with what the officer told the investigators from early on," Millikan, a former St. Louis police officer, said, according to AP. "There were no shots fired when (Myers) was running away. That's simply not true."
Millikan reportedly said that Myers was shot in the back of his legs when “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.”
The shooting death of the two black teenagers triggered days of unrest in the region. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, witnessed protests, which sometimes turned violent, since Brown's death on Aug. 9.