Report: Autopsy Suggests Michael Brown Reached for Ferguson Officer's Gun

Image: Michael Brown poses for a photo in his cap and gown taken in March 2014
Michael Brown poses for a photo in his cap and gown taken in March 2014. Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Mo.Elcardo Anthony

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The official autopsy on Michael Brown, leaked to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, suggests that he was shot in the hand at close range and may have reached for the police officer’s gun, outside experts told the newspaper.

That would contradict what private experts reported after they conducted an autopsy for Brown’s family. Those experts said there were no signs of a struggle between Brown and Officer Darren Wilson, who shot him to death Aug. 9 in the suburb of Ferguson.

A supplemental examination in the official autopsy published by the Post-Dispatch found material “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm” in Brown’s right hand.

Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist not involved in the autopsy, told the newspaper that the finding “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” Melinek also told the newspaper that the autopsy did not support witness accounts that the fatal shot, later, was fired while Brown was running away from the officer or had his hands up.

The Post-Dispatch also reported Wednesday, citing an unnamed source with knowledge of the matter, that Wilson has told investigators that Brown pressed the barrel of the gun against Wilson’s hip during a struggle inside the officer’s SUV.