A man killed by a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer died from a single gunshot wound to the back, according to an autopsy report released Tuesday.
Iaroslav Mosiiuk, 25, died in front of sister’s home in north Charlotte on March 8.
CMPD has said that Mosiiuk pointed a rifle before he was shot by Officer Brian Walsh. Chief Kerr Putney has said Walsh believed he faced an imminent threat.
But the autopsy results appear to bolster an account from an eyewitness who disputes the police version of events and believes the shooting was unjustified.
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Olesya Tabaka has said that her brother was shot in the lower back about 14 seconds after an officer knocked on the door at her house in the 1000 block of Justice Avenue. Tabaka said Mosiiuk had his back turned toward the officer and did not appear to be threatening him with the gun.
Police were called to help Mosiiuk, a Urkrainian immigrant, because he had been behaving erratically, looking for the rifle and saying he didn’t want to live any longer.
Tabaka said she witnessed the brief encounter between Mosiiuk and two CMPD officers who responded. She said she tried to tell a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer the rifle her brother held was missing a part and would not fire bullets.
“I yelled, ‘There is no part to the gun,’” Olesya Tabaka said. “The officer looked at me and then he fired.”
Two 911 recordings released by CMPD show that a caller told the dispatcher that the bolt action rifle, a Remington .309, was missing a part and that Mosiiuk didn’t know how to assemble the missing piece.
“He can’t put it together,” the woman tells the dispatcher.
CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano said in an email Tuesday that the department has turned over findings from the investigation to the district’s attorney’s office, which will determine whether to file criminal charges against the officer.
An an internal investigation to determine if Walsh violated CMPD policies and procedures is ongoing, Tufano said.
He did not respond to specific questions about the confrontation between Mosiiuk and police.
CMPD officials in March showed the family police body camera footage of the encounter.
Attorney Charles Monnett, who is representing the family, said the autopsy results suggests the officer did not show proper restraint. Monnett said the department hasn’t said whether Walsh had a specialized course for officers dealing mental health emergencies, known as Crisis Intervention Training.
“They still haven’t released any information about why it was necessary to kill this young man,” Monnett said. “When it is a mental health call, lethal force should absolutely be the last resort.”
His family said Mosiiuk had a master’s degree in marketing and international management and spoke English fluently, but spent his days in the Charlotte area assisting at multiple car repair shops.
Neighbors called him friendly and said he was often seen working on his car or helping others. But his mental state started to deteriorate about week before his death, his family said.
The autopsy report from the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s office says Mosiiuk was shot on the right side in the mid section of his back, resulting in injuries to the heart and lungs.