An autopsy of Kenneth Bailey Jr., who was fatally shot by Durham police on February 15, shows he was shot in the left side of his upper back.
The autopsy, conducted by the Office of the State Medical Examiner, says that bullet traveled upward, punctured both of his lungs, and lodged near his right shoulder, suggesting he was shot from the side by someone at a lower angle. Although the autopsy notes damage to the vessels surrounding Bailey’s heart, it says the heart itself was intact.
The Durham Police Department has maintained that a fleeing Bailey had pointed a gun at officers before they fired the fatal shots. His family, in conducting their own interviews of residents in the Club Boulevard neighborhood where he was shot, says no witnesses reported hearing officers tell Bailey to drop a weapon. Instead, they say they heard him “plead for his life between shots.”
According to the autopsy, Bailey was also shot in the front of the right lower leg. The autopsy doesn’t say whether Bailey was first shot in the leg or the back. There was no soot around either wound, which would have suggested close-range shots.
Police went to Bailey’s cousin’s house on Glenbrook Drive after Bailey broke a curfew associated with pretrial release terms. Bailey had been awaiting trial for an August 2016 robbery charge that his family says he planned to dispute. He had been required to wear an ankle monitoring device and be home between the hours of seven p.m. and seven a.m.
In their initial report on the shooting, police said they knocked on the door of the house and Bailey ran, but his family says officers “stormed” the home with guns drawn. They do not dispute that Bailey ran, but they say that none of the witnesses they spoke to saw Bailey point a gun at the officers.
This article appeared in print with the headline “+THE KILL SHOT.”