A man whose hands were cuffed behind him in the back seat of an Arkansas patrol car shot himself in the right temple with a handgun he apparently concealed from arresting officers, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed the death as a suicide.
The state crime lab report, signed by three medical examiners, said the muzzle of a gun was placed against Chavis Carter’s head when it was fired. Jonesboro police released the report to The Associated Press and other news organizations under a Freedom of Information Act request.
I actually find the muzzle contact wound in conjunction with a man who’s hands are cuffed behind his back makes it smell even worse, not better. Then there’s this:
The autopsy report comes days after police released dashboard camera video recorded the night Carter was shot in Jonesboro, about 130 miles northeast of Little Rock. Part of the video showed Carter being patted down and ended before officers found Carter slumped over and bleeding in the back of a patrol car as was described in a police report. Police later released additional video they said was recorded after Carter was found.
Neither included the moment they say Carter shot himself, and the footage did little to resolve questions about how the shooting could have happened.
The videos (or likely just audio as I suspect the cameras don’t point into the back seat of the cruiser) have the moment the gun went off…or the potential of damning evidence such as a man saying “Hey what are you doing with that gun????”.
As part of their investigation, the Jonesboro Police Department also released a video reconstruction of the shooting showing how a man could shoot himself in the head with his hands cuffed behind him.
In producing the video, the agency said it used the same type of handcuffs used on Carter and the same model of handgun found with Carter after he died, a .380-caliber Cobra semi-automatic. An officer of similar height and weight as Carter sat in the back of a cruiser, leaned over and was able to lift the weapon to his head and reach the trigger.
Here’s the Police Video:
The police demo seems to point that it IS possible if he was able to stash the gun into the seat which seems like some expert fore-thought on the behalf of the suspect, and some severe incompetence on behalf of the police. The Cobra .380s aren’t Ruger LCPs, they’re cheap potmetal blowback pistols, and while not BIG guns, they aren’t tiny either.
I’m still not buying it. While this guy was NOT a saint, as he seems to have been dealing at the time of his detention, and was on the lam for other drug charges, I wonder if the cops decided Justice wasn’t going to work out in this case, and a cheap throwdown gun might solve their problem.
Given that this thin story is being held up by the very police who are the potential murder suspects.