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Michael Brown Shooting

Michael Brown Autopsy Conducted by Veteran Military Examiner

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A federal autopsy on the body of slain teenager Michael Brown was being performed Monday by "one of the most experienced medical examiners in the United States military," Attorney General Eric Holder said as he prepared to travel to Ferguson, Missouri, to meet with federal criminal and civil rights investigators.

A medical examiner hired by the family of Brown, 18, who was shot to death Aug. 9 by a police officer, performed a private preliminary autopsy, which he said showed that Brown was shot at least six times from the front, including twice in the head. The St. Louis County medical examiner's office confirmed to NBC News that Brown was struck in the head and the chest, but wouldn't say how many times Brown was shot.

The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a separate inquiry into the death of Brown. More than 40 FBI agents are in Ferguson, Holder said, along with members of the Justice Department's Community Relations Service, who are joining efforts to calm tensions that have roiled the town for more than a week. Ronald Davis, director of the department's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, will arrive in Ferguson on Tuesday to coordinate crowd control among the various state and local law enforcement agencies that are on the scene, Holder said.

Holder said he understood there was "tremendous interest" in the case, but he asked for patience and criticized "the selective release of sensitive information that we have seen in this case so far." The federal investigation, he said, "is a critical step in restoring trust between law enforcement and the community, not just in Ferguson, but beyond."

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— M. Alex Johnson