Gunshot wounds to the back and abdomen killed Keith Lamont Scott, the black Charlotte man shot by police on Sept. 20, a county autopsy report says.
The report, released Monday, shows Scott, 43, suffered gunshots to his left upper back, the front of his left abdomen and to the back of his left wrist.
“Based on the history and autopsy findings, it is my opinion that the cause of death in this case is gunshot wounds of the chest and abdomen,” said the report signed by Dr. Jonathan Privette of the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Toxicology tests of Scott’s blood found diazepam, the ingredient in Valium; the anticonvulsant gabapentin; and nordiazepam, which is used to treat anxiety disorders.
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A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shot Scott after officers repeatedly warned him to drop a gun, police and on-scene video show. His family has insisted he did not have a gun. The shooting unleashed two nights of street violence and a tumultuous week of protests.
Rakeyia Scott, who witnessed the shooting, told CBS News last month that her husband might not have obeyed police commands because he was confused after taking up to 11 different medications for ailments that included a traumatic brain injury.
“He takes them, and you have to give it time to kick in,” she said in a CBS interview. “If you start a conversation with him, he’s not going to remember the conversation. You have to wait for the medicine to kick in.”
The autopsy does not indicate whether Scott’s body was tested for marijuana. Police have said they approached him as he sat in a parked vehicle because they saw him roll a marijuana “blunt” and then saw him hold up a handgun.
Charles Monnett, a lawyer for Scott’s family, said he was surprised that the medical examiners didn’t test for marijuana.
“Police claim he that he was rolling a joint, and that was the reason (they approached Scott),” Monnett said. “You would have expected that they would want to see if he had smoked any.”
The county report is consistent with a private autopsy commissioned by the family, which showed Scott was shot in the left side of his back, left abdomen and left wrist.
“The cause of death is two, penetrating, indeterminate range gunshot wounds to the back and abdomen,” wrote two forensic pathologists who performed the autopsy Sept. 30 at the Newberry County (S.C.) Memorial Hospital morgue.
Monnett said video from the scene appears to indicate that Scott was first shot in the back, and that the second shot, to Scott’s abdomen, hit his spinal cord and made him drop with his legs still out.
“We’re hoping next to learn the results of the criminal investigation – the rest of the story,” Monnett said. “This is a very small part of the picture really. … We’re hopeful we’ll be learning what the SBI investigation has revealed.”
Monnett said he had communicated recently with the district attorney’s office and “I expect hopefully to sit down with them in the near future.”
Asked whether he expected to charge Officer Brentley Vinson, who police have said fired four shots at Scott, he said, “I have my own personal opinion. Until I have more information, I will keep it to myself.”
Bill Stetzer, head of the homicide team for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg District Attorney’s Office, said Monday that he could not comment on the case.