Autopsy released in police shooting

An autopsy released Thursday answers some questions about the death of Aaron Winchester, who was shot two months ago while fleeing police.

But the biggest question – whether Winchester was turning toward Officer David Jester when the officer fired – remains largely unanswered.

The autopsy confirms some of what police said – that two bullets fired from Jester's gun pierced Winchester's back, killing him on Sylvania Avenue on May 20. Mecklenburg medical examiner Christopher Gulledge declined to talk about the case Thursday night.

The bullets traveled in opposite directions after entering Winchester's body, according to the autopsy. One went upward and to the right, going through his left lung and three ribs before exiting the chest.

The other bullet entered Winchester's back just below his sternum and traveled to the left. It fractured two ribs and a vertebrae as it went through the left lung, heart and aorta. The bullet lodged in his chest.

The autopsy also says there was no evidence of alcohol, cocaine or other drugs in Winchester's system.

Police say Jester fired as Winchester pulled a gun from his right pocket and began to turn.

A handgun was found near Winchester's body. Five witnesses told the Observer that Winchester was trying to get away and didn't pull a gun or turn.

Citizens assailed CMPD representatives at a community meeting just after the shooting, and Winchester's family asked the SBI to conduct an independent investigation. The Rev. Al Sharpton also brought national attention to the case when he came to Charlotte looking for answers.

The Mecklenburg District's Attorney's Office has not decided whether Jester will face criminal charges and the SBI's investigation is still underway, a spokeswoman said Thursday. An internal police investigation has also not been completed.

Winchester, who lived off Beatties Ford Road, ended up in the Lockwood neighborhood after arguing with the mother of his son. The car they were driving hit a pole on Dalton Avenue and their argument spilled onto the street, attracting the attention of onlookers. Someone called 911. At some point Winchester ran into the neighborhood.

Just after 1 p.m., Officer Jester stopped his patrol car and approached Winchester on foot near Grimes Street and Sylvania Avenue to question Winchester about the traffic accident and the argument.

Two witnesses say that after a brief conversation, the officer attempted to search Winchester. That's when Winchester hitched up his blue jeans, they said, and ran west on Sylvania toward Graham.