(ST. LOUIS) — Michael Brown could have survived five of the six gunshots fired at him by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, but the last shot to the top of his head killed him, a privately conducted autopsy found.
The two shots that hit Brown in the head were likely among the last that hit him and traveled from the back of his head to the front, indicating that Brown’s head was tilted forward, either because he was bending over or falling over, when the final shots struck him, forensic expert Dr. Michael Baden said at a news conference Monday. Brown had abrasions on his face from where he “fell flat down unprotected,” Baden said.
A gunshot wound to his arm could show either that he was hit while walking away from the shooter, with his back to the officer, or that he was facing the shooter with his arm up, either in a surrender position, defensive position, or other motion, Baden said.
The autopsy was performed Sunday at the request of Brown’s family.
Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, was hired to perform the private autopsy along with Prof. Shaun Parcells for the Brown family after St. Louis County would not release the results of its autopsy.
The attorneys representing Brown’s parents criticized the St. Louis authorities for not releasing autopsy results and said that the results show evidence that the shooting officer, Darren Wilson, should be arrested.
“The officer needs to be arrested. Why would (Brown) be shot in the very top of his head? A 6-foot-4 man, it makes no sense,” attorney Darrell Parks said, explaining that the paths of both of the bullets were from the back of the head toward the front of the head. “We believe those two things alone are ample evidence for the officer to be arrested.”
In addition to the two shots to the head, Brown was shot four times in the right arm and chest.
Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a federal medical examiner to perform a separate autopsy because of the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s office has also conducted an autopsy, concluding that Brown died of gunshot wounds but releasing no details.
The shooting death of Brown has sparked riots and protests in the St. Louis suburb.
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Ivana Kottasova, CNN
Jose Pagliery, CNN
Ebony Short for CNN
Jose Pagliery, CNN