According to the official autopsy report for Michael Brown obtained by the St. Louis Dispatch, the teenager suffered a gunshot wound to his hand from close range and had marijuana in his system at the time of his death.
Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson Aug. 9. The autopsy would appear to square with Wilson's retelling of events—that there was an altercation inside the officer's car that precipitated Brown being fatally gunned down in the street:
Police Officer Darren Wilson told investigators that in a struggle for his pistol inside a police SUV, Michael Brown pressed the barrel of Wilson's gun against the officer's hip, according to a source with knowledge of his statements.
Wilson tried to prevent Brown from reaching the trigger, the source said, and when he thought he had control he fired. But Brown's hand was blocking the mechanism.
When Wilson got two shots off, Brown was hit in the hand and ran. Wilson fired again when Brown turned back and charged at him, Wilson told investigators.
The St. Louis Dispatch conferred with two experts not currently involved in police's investigation of Brown's killing. The first, Dr. Michael Graham, the St. Louis medical examiner, told the paper that the autopsy report "does support that there was a significant altercation at the car":
Graham said the examination indicated a shot traveled from the tip of Brown's right thumb toward his wrist. The official report notes an absence of stippling, powder burns around a wound that indicate a shot fired at relatively short range.
But Graham said, "Sometimes when it's really close, such as within an inch or so, there is no stipple, just smoke."
The report on a supplemental microscopic exam of tissue from the thumb wound showed foreign matter "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm."
A second independent pathologist, Dr. Judy Melinek in San Francisco, also confirmed with the Dispatch that the autopsy "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound":
She said Brown was facing Wilson when Brown took a shot to the forehead, two shots to the chest and a shot to the upper right arm. The wound to the top of Brown's head would indicate he was falling forward or in a lunging position toward the shooter; the shot was instantly fatal.
A sixth shot that hit the forearm traveled from the back of the arm to the inner arm, which means Brown's palms could not have been facing Wilson, as some witnesses have said, Melinek said. That trajectory shows Brown probably was not taking a standard surrender position with arms above the shoulders and palms out when he was hit, she said.