Autopsy results prove that 19-year-old Zachary Hammond was shot from behind by a police officer, according to the lawyer representing the family. This latest police shooting puts South Carolina on pace for the most officer-involved shootings in at least 15 years, the Associated Press reports.
Zachary Hammond was shot and killed by police on Sunday night during a drug sting operation. Reportedly, Hammond drove his car toward an officer in a fast food restaurant parking lot, which forced the officer to open fire on the teen. The unidentified Seneca police officer claims he feared for his life after seeing Hammond drive his car toward him.
According to a statement from Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis, autopsy results showed that Hammond was shot twice — once in the chest and once in the collarbone. Hammond’s parents were skeptical of the police department’s claims that their son was shot in self-defense so they hired attorney Eric Bland. Bland also doubted the self-defense claim and has asked the state Attorney General to launch a statewide grand jury investigation into the matter. Upon examining images of the bullet wounds, Bland determined that there was no way that Hammond wasn’t shot from behind.
“It is clearly, clearly from the back,” Bland said. “It is physically impossible for him to be trying to flee or run over the officer that shot him.”
Despite the claims that Zachary Hammond was shot from behind, Seneca Police Chief John Covington insists that the shots were fired from near point-blank range into the open driver’s side window, a report from Greenville Online revealed. Regarding the matter, Covington issued the following statement.
“As some sort of litigation may be pending, we will not be addressing the ongoing and unsupported statements being made to various media outlets. We have stated the facts as we know them and do not have any intent of doing otherwise. We await the results of the SLED investigation and subsequent review by the Solicitor.
“We will not be releasing the officer’s name that was involved in the shooting and consider him a victim of attempted murder as we have previously stated several times. Pursuant to Article 1, Section 24, the Victim’s Bill of Rights of the SC State Constitution, we feel that releasing his name may possibly subject the officer and family to harassment, intimidation or abuse.
“In due time, all of the facts and circumstances will come out within the proper venue.”
As a previous report from the Inquisitr explained, the officer who shot Hammond has been placed on administrative leave while the State Law Enforcement Division investigates the matter.
[Image via Mat Hayward/ Getty Images News]