Attorney Ben Crump, representing the family of a Baytown woman shot during an attempted arrest May 13, shared graphic details from an independent autopsy during a press conference Wednesday.
However, Crump declined to provide the name or credentials of the pathologist whose findings he presented, saying that he “does not wish to be publicly associated with this highly publicized case.”
Turner’s body had “three penetrating distant type gunshot wounds,” he said. There were no exit wounds.
Crump said the private autopsy was performed after the official autopsy by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences. He said any bullets or bullet fragments had presumably been removed in the original autopsy.
Either one of two wounds could have been the fatal wound according to the independent autopsy, he said.
One entered her chest on the left side, puncturing a lung and her diaphragm before entering the liver. It did not strike any ribs.
Another entered her abdomen and struck the liver. It also penetrated a vertebra.
The most upsetting injury for the family, he said, was a gunshot wound to the face.
While not the fatal shot, Crump said, it required her face to be reconstructed for the funeral.
That gunshot, he said, entered her face below her left eye, about at cheekbone level, shattering the bone. The bullet was embedded in her jaw.
After the shooting, the police
officer performed CPR on Turner until EMS arrived and pronounced her dead at the scene.
Turner was shot by a Baytown police officer, who attempted to arrest her for outstanding warrants about 10:30 p.m. May 13.
A video taken by a bystander shows the officer and Turner in a struggle.
According to a Baytown police statement, the officer, identified as Juan Delacruz, used his Taser in an attempt to subdue Turner. She got control of the Taser and used it on him. She was on the ground
The video then shows the officer backing away, out of sight behind a parked vehicle, and the sound of five gunshots can be heard.
In the video, Turner’s last words to the officer are saying that she is pregnant.
Police said the official autopsy confirmed the 44-year-old woman was not pregnant. Crump said the independent autopsy also showed no indication of pregnancy.
Crump said at the press conference three of those five shots struck Turner. Right after the incident, police said that “at least one” shot hit Turner. The brief information on the medical examiner website refers to “multiple” gunshot wounds.
The complete official report has not yet been released.
In a Wednesday press release, Crump said he and the attorneys he is working with “are pushing the police department and medical examiner for full transparency and to publicly release the official information they have, including the police report, any bodycam video, and even the medical examiner’s autopsy.”
Crump said in his experience, agencies often drag out the process of releasing information so the public forgets about the story and moves on to something else.
Baytown Police Chief Keith Dougherty has turned the investigation of the shooting over to the Texas Rangers. He said he was confident his officers could perform the investigation fairly, but turning it over to an outside agency would give a greater appearance of fairness.
As with all officer-involved shootings, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is conducting its own independent investigation.
A funeral for Turner is at 11 a.m. today at Lilly Grove Baptist Church, 7034 Tierwester St. in Houston. Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.