A preliminary autopsy of Michael Brown — performed Sunday by Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York — found that the unarmed teenager was shot at least six times, including twice in the head.
“People have been asking: How many times was he shot? This information could have been released on Day 1,” Baden told The New York Times after performing the autopsy. “They don’t do that, even as feelings built up among the citizenry that there was a cover-up. We are hoping to alleviate that.”
According to Baden, who performed the autopsy at the Brown family’s request, although Michael was shot at least six times, only three bullets were recovered from his body. In a diagram of the entry wounds, he noted that the six shots produced numerous wounds with some of the bullets entering and exiting several times, including one that left at least five different wounds.
One of the bullets entered the top of Mr. Brown’s skull, suggesting his head was bent forward when it struck him and caused a fatal injury, according to Dr. Michael M. Baden, the former chief medical examiner for the City of New York, who flew to Missouri on Sunday at the family’s request to conduct the separate autopsy. It was likely the last of bullets to hit him, he said.
Mr. Brown, 18, was also shot four times in the right arm, he said, adding that all the bullets were fired into his front.
The bullets did not appear to have been shot from very close range because no gunpowder was present on his body. However, that determination could change if it turns out that there is gunshot residue on Mr. Brown’s clothing, to which Dr. Baden did not have access.
One of the bullets shattered Mr. Brown’s right eye, traveled through his face, exited his jaw and re-entered his collarbone. The last two shots in the head would have stopped him in his tracks and were likely the last fired.
Mr. Brown, he said, would not have survived the shooting even if he had been taken to a hospital right away. The autopsy indicated that he was otherwise healthy.
Dr. Baden said it was unusual for the federal government to conduct a third autopsy, but dueling examinations often occur when there is so much distrust of the authorities. The county of St. Louis has conducted an autopsy, and the results have not yet been released.
He stressed that his examination was not to determine whether the shooting was justified.
“In my capacity as the forensic examiner for the New York State Police, I would say, ‘You’re not supposed to shoot so many times,’ ” said Dr. Baden, who retired from the state police in 2011. “Right now there is too little information to forensically reconstruct the shooting.” Read more.
Baden’s autopsy wont be the last, however. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced that the Justice Department will also conduct its own autopsy, in addition to the one performed by local officials.