Autopsy by Coroner Sheds Light on Fatal Stephon Clark Shooting - NBC 7 San Diego
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Autopsy by Coroner Sheds Light on Fatal Stephon Clark Shooting

The officers shot Clark after chasing him into his grandparents' backyard



    Autopsy by Coroner Sheds Light on Fatal Stephon Clark Shooting
    Rich Pedroncelli/AP
    Protester Anita Ross holds a photo of shooting victim Stephon Clark, March 22, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.

    An official autopsy released Tuesday says an unarmed black man was shot seven times, not eight as concluded by an independent doctor hired by the man's family.

    A pathologist retained by the Sacramento County coroner says that's a crucial distinction because it shows the pathologist hired by the family of 22-year-old Stephon Clark mistook an exit wound for an eighth entry wound, creating an impression that police first shot Clark from the side or back.

    Clark was most likely shot as he approached police, a conclusion that is consistent with the officers' story of the fatal encounter, Dr. Gregory Reiber wrote after reviewing the official autopsy along with video taken by the two officers' body-worn cameras and a sheriff's helicopter circling overhead.

    The autopsy also says Clark was legally drunk and had traces of marijuana, cocaine and codeine in his system when was shot, but the report said the toxicology findings are not directly relevant to the fatal shooting.

    Police Release New Video From Shooting of Stephon Clark

    [NATL] Police Release New Video From Night of Stephon Clark's Shooting

    Sacramento police released new footage from the night Stephon Clark, 22, was shot and killed on March 19. Videos released Monday shows footage from 23 dashcams, 28 body cameras, two 911 calls and additional footage from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department helicopter. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 17, 2018)

    The officers shot Clark after chasing him into his grandparents' backyard. They were responding to a report of someone breaking car windows, and said they shot Clark because they thought he was approaching them while pointing a handgun.

    Investigators found only a cellphone.

    The slaying set off weeks of protests as demonstrators called for the officers to be fired and criminally charged. Protesters at times blocked fans from attending professional basketball games and disrupted rush hour traffic downtown in the state capital and on a nearby interstate.

    Benjamin Crump, a spokesman for the family's attorney, did not immediately comment.

    The pathologist hired by the family, Dr. Bennet Omalu, told The Sacramento Bee he found it strange that the coroner's office brought in its own independent pathologist to review the official autopsy.

    Omalu found that Clark was hit by six bullets in the back, one in the neck and one in the thigh, and took three to 10 minutes to die. Police waited about five minutes before rendering medical aid.

    Emotional Pleas at Sacramento Funeral to End Police Killings

    [NATL-BAY] Emotional Pleas at Sacramento Funeral to End Police Killings

    Around 500 people attended the funeral for Stephon Clark Thursday, where Rev. Al Sharpton gave a eulogy and friends and family shared memories of the 22-year-old father of two. Emotions have flared and protesters have filled the streets since Clark's fatal shooting by police this month. NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock reports.

    (Published Thursday, March 29, 2018)

    The official autopsy found that Clark was hit three times in his right back; in the right front of his neck; his right arm; in his right chest, slightly back to front; and in the left thigh.

    Two bullets perforated his lungs, with one of those two bullets hitting his heart and aorta, and another bullet striking his spine.

    The direction of the bullets "do not support the assertion that Clark was shot primarily from behind as asserted by Omalu," Reiber wrote.

    He wrote that a frame-by-frame analysis of video from both officers' body-worn cameras shows Clark facing the officers while helicopter footage shows him "walking ... toward the officers' position." He was most likely shot first in the thigh, then in the right side and back as he fell first to his knees and then face down with his right side facing the officers, Reiber wrote.