Kendrec McDade's parents raise concerns about son's autopsy report
The parents of Kendrec McDade have reviewed the autopsy report of their 19-year-old son, who was fatally shot last month by Pasadena police following a chase, and said they are concerned that he may have been shot from the back.
The autopsy report, released by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office Friday, shows that the unarmed McDade was shot four times at point-blank range by one officer and was alive and handcuffed after being struck by a total of seven bullets.
At a news conference Saturday, Caree Harper, an attorney for McDade's family, said the bullets that hit McDade’s arms and one that hit his hip appear to contradict the police’s assertion that none of the shots came from the back.
A diagram in the autopsy report appears to indicate one bullet entered McDade through the back, but the narrative from the report states that bullet's trajectory was "front to back and downward."
“No matter how you want to twist it there were one, two, three and a possible fourth shot” to the back, Harper said.
She also emphasized the downward trajectory of some of the bullets.
“This to us indicates he was either falling or on the ground when he was shot,” Harper said.
Pasadena Lt. Phlunte Riddle said some of the bullets entered through McDade’s arms because of his movements at the time of the shooting.
In a federal lawsuit McDade’s parents, Anya Slaughter and Kenneth McDade, also allege McDade was left on the street for a prolonged period of time after the March 24 shooting without receiving first aid. The coroner’s report shed no light on this allegation.
McDade, of Azusa, was killed when Pasadena officers Jeff Newlen and Mathew Griffin responded to a report of an armed robbery at a taco truck in northwest Pasadena. One of the officers pursued McDade on foot and the other from his police cruiser.
The first officer who fired did so while seated in the patrol car as McDade approached with his hand at his waistband. McDade and the officer were "within a foot" of each other, according to the autopsy report.
After he was shot, authorities determined McDade was unarmed and that the theft victim, Oscar Carrillo, had lied about his assailants having weapons in order to get a quicker response from police.
The officer who was seated in the patrol car fired four rounds through an open window, according to the autopsy report.
The other officer, who was on foot, fired four rounds, believing his partner was involved in a firefight.
Paramedics were called to the scene immediately after the shooting and McDade remained alert until after he arrived at Huntington Memorial Hospital, where he died almost 90 minutes after the shooting, according to the autopsy report.
A doctor at Huntington ruled the cause of death to be bullet wounds to the abdomen, according to the coroner's report. The report found that three shots struck McDade in the abdomen or hip, one to his right leg, two hit his right arm and one his left arm.
The report also showed McDade had alcohol and traces of marijuana in his system at the time he died.
One teen, 17, has pleaded to charges related to the burglary.
Police have said they believe McDade was the teen's lookout, though Caree Harper, an attorney for McDade's family, disputes that assertion.
On Saturday, Harper said her office is seeking to compel Pasadena police to turn on audio and video recorders when they are pursuing a suspect. Police did not do so before pursuing McDade.
“We don’t want to rely on the officer's word that he felt threatened, we want to rely on the eye in the sky to see what really happened,” Harper said.
Anya Slaughter, McDade’s mother, said she visits her son’s grave almost every day and asked for anyone with information about the shooting to come forward.
“It’s hard for me to let go,” Slaughter said, holding her 7-week-old son. “I want Kendrec’s name to be cleared of any wrongdoing and I want the cops to be held accountable for my son’s death.”
— Adolfo Flores