Autopsy: Asheville man shot 9 times by officer

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- A man whose killing by police touched off community protests died after being shot nine times by an Asheville officer, according to an autopsy report released Friday.

Jai “Jerry” Williams, 35, died from gunshot wounds to his head, chest and stomach July 2, following a 3-mile, high-speed police chase in Asheville.

According to the autopsy report, Williams was carrying a weapon. Authorities have said he was armed with an AR-15 rifle and posed a threat to officers.

Asheville police Sgt. Tyler Radford, who is white, fired one shot to Williams' forehead, one shot to the right side of his chest, two shots to his upper left leg and one shot to his upper right leg, according to a state medical examiner's findings.

Williams, 35, also was shot in his left wrist, upper left arm and twice in his lower left leg. Police have said Radford was the only officer involved in the shooting.

Williams, who was black, suffered lacerations on his face near his lip and cheek as well as one on his torso. A bullet also grazed his head.

Tests found Williams had a blood alcohol content level of 0.12. North Carolina’s legal limit for driving is 0.08.

During the pursuit of Williams, police said they saw "what appeared to be a female struggling in the vehicle and attempting to get out.” Williams was pronounced dead at the scene and was the only person injured.

Witnesses have questioned whether the police’s lethal use of force was necessary. Photos from the scene show the body of Williams next to what appears to be a black rifle.

His death was followed by protests, including one in which six people and a journalist were arrested after staging a sit-in at the Asheville Police Department. Several activists were also cited by police for impeding traffic during the downtown march, which led to police headquarters.

Radford has been placed on paid administrative leave resolution of the case. The N.C. State Bureau of Investigation has turned over its report on the shooting to District Attorney Todd Williams, who said he is still reviewing their findings.

The submission included more than 900 pages of written documentation, hundreds of digital photographs and multiple hours of audio and video recordings, Williams said.

It could be weeks before he makes a decision on whether the shooting was justified, Williams said.

At the time of the shooting, Asheville police officers were not equipped with body cameras and Radford’s patrol car did not have an in-car camera.

Copyright 2016 Asheville Citizen-Times


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