Was Zachary Hammond shot from behind? During an undercover marijuana bust, a South Carolina police officer says the 19-year-old teen was driving a car and appeared to be veering toward the officer as if Hammond intended to run him over. The police officer says he shot and killed the teen in self-defense, but the family claims the autopsy proves the cop shot Zachary Hammond from behind.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, off-duty New Jersey State Police trooper Kissinger Barreau fired three shots at the backs of fleeing teens after they knocked on his door by mistake while looking for a party.
The drug sting took place on Sunday night. The unidentified South Carolina police officer said he feared for his life when Hammond allegedly started driving his vehicle at the cop. The officer was approaching the car with his gun drawn, so he opened fire, killing the teen.
The officer then executed a search warrant and found a bag of marijuana in the car. Tori Dianna Morton, 23, was also in the car with Hammond, but was not hurt during the shooting. She was arrested for possession of marijuana.
The reason the family says the cop shot Zachary Hammond from behind is due to the autopsy report. According to the Associated Press, Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis says the teen died from a gunshot wound to the upper torso, but he did not indicate whether the shooting took place from behind or in front. Attorney Eric Bland claims the first shot hit Hammond in the left rear shoulder and the second bullet hit at a downward angle into his side from the rear, piercing the teen’s heart and lungs.
“The shots were so close in proximity to each other that it would be physically impossible unless the car was stopped and the officer came up very close to an open window,” Bland said. “Picture a car going 20 miles an hour and I’m fortunate enough to get a shot off, and I hit you — there’s no way I can get the second shot if the car’s going 20 miles an hour.”
So was Zachary Hammond shot from behind? When Seneca Police Chief John Covington was asked this question, the police chief stood by his officer’s account. Covington claims the shot were fired at point-blank range, which explains why the entry wounds were five inches apart.
“He actually had his hand on or very close to the car, possibly pushed off from the car,” Covington said. “The attorney wasn’t there either. He’s got to put his spin on things. His clients are the parents and they’re grieving. I understand that. My heart goes out to them.”
As is standard procedure, the unidentified South Carolina police officer has been placed on administrative leave while the State Law Enforcement Division investigates the South Carolina shooting. According to Greenville Online, both the city and the police officer have hired defense lawyers, and chief Covington says, “Ultimately, it would appear it’s headed toward litigation.”
[Image via The Daily Signal]