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Michael Brown shot at close range, official autopsy reveals

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The official autopsy report for Michael Brown has been released and it shows the 18-year-old was shot at close range but only in the hand. Prepared by St. Louis County's medical examiner, the autopsy report offers the most accurate description of the wounds Brown had sustained while confronting Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer.

Medical examiner Dr. Michael Graham from St. Louis was not part of the official investigation but he said that the autopsy report does support Wilson's statements that he and Brown had an altercation in the police officer's vehicle.

Graham further explained that the autopsy report indicated that a shot had traveled from the tip of Brown's thumb on his right hand towards his wrist. While no stippling or powder burns indicative of a close-range shot was reported, the medical examiner clarified that it was possible for a close-range shot to be fired without causing stippling, mostly happening when the gun is just an inch or so away from the target.

A microscopic exam of Brown's thumb tissue showed foreign matter was embedded in the wound. Said foreign matter matches by-products released when a gun is fired.

The autopsy report "supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound. If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he's going for the officer's gun," added San Francisco forensic pathologist Dr. Judy Melinek, who also reviewed the documents.

What the autopsy report did not support was stories from witnesses claiming that Wilson shot Brown while the teen was running away or had his hands up. The fatal wound on the forehead Wilson dealt Brown indicated that the boy would have had to be lunging towards the police officer or falling forward to incur the wound.

Brown's family commissioned a private autopsy and released the results of the report earlier on Aug. 18. Renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael M. Baden said that none of the other wounds sustained by Brown (one in the forehead, two in the chest, one in the upper right arm, and one in the forearm) were from close-range shots. Like in the official autopsy, Baden's report pointed out the lack of gunshot residue on Brown's body.

Both the St. Louis County and private autopsies were also in agreement when it comes to the location and number of Brown's wounds.

Federal officials ordered a third autopsy as part of a separate investigation on the shooting but so far results have not been released.

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