The recent autopsy of a 17-year-old girl who was killed by Denver police officers while driving a stolen car shows that she suffered 4 gunshot wounds. Denver PD said that officers fired at after she drove toward them. The case remains under investigation by the district attorney.
The Denver medical examiner’s office also said Jessica Hernandez had marijuana and a small amount of alcohol in her system during the Jan. 26 shooting. The incident sparked wide protests and requests for an outside investigation and happened during a national debate about police use of lethal force.
Two bullets entered through the left side of her chest and traveled through her body. Her family’s attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, said that shows she was shot from the driver’s side of the car.
“These facts undermine Denver Police Department’s claim that Jessie was driving at the officers as they shot her,” Mohamedbhai said in a statement. “The wound path and trajectory of the bullet that likely killed Jessica Hernandez undermines the version of events as indicated by the Denver Police Department.”
District attorney spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said that the release of the autopsy report is a sign that the investigation is progressing, but she could offer no timeline for when it would be complete. “The case is still ongoing, and the autopsy is certainly part of that,” she said.
Furthermore, an NBC News report on the autopsy states that Mohamedbhai said:
“…Hernandez was driving toward the officers who shot her since since the bullet wounds entered her body from the driver’s side of the car and were not fired at close range. He told NBC News on Saturday that the left-to-right wound path and trajectory of the bullets that struck Hernandez “undermine the version of the events put forth by the Denver Police Department.”
The autopsy shows Hernandez had gunshot wounds to the torso, pelvis and thigh, but it’s not exactly clear how many times she was shot, as the autopsy notes that two of the wounds might have been caused by a single bullet.
Denver police Chief Robert White has said the officers found Hernandez and four other teenagers inside the stolen car in an alley. White said the officers told the teens several times to get out of the vehicle.
A passenger in the car, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns, has disputed the official account, saying officers came up on the car from behind and fired four times into the driver’s-side window.
The passenger also said the officers did not verbalize any commands before they fired.
Denver police spokeswoman Raquel Lopez refused to comment on the report.