Was Zachary Hammond shot from behind? The teen’s family has alleged this is the case, based upon comments by their lawyer, but Seneca Police Chief John Covington is refusing to release the identity of the police officer involved in the South Carolina shooting. The lawyer is also arguing the case deserves attention, since white lives matter just as much as black lives matter.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Covington says at least two police officers were involved in the fatal shooting, which occurred a week ago. One undercover police officer pulled up in a vehicle next to Hammond’s car in order to purchase marijuana from a woman who was also inside the vehicle. The Seneca police officer in uniform was standing by to help with the arrest when Hammond allegedly sped up and tried to run the lawman over.
But the family says this explanation is false, and claims Zachary Hammond was shot in the back. According to the Daily Herald, they say their son was unarmed and was on a date with Tori Dianna Morton, 23, the woman who was in the vehicle during the shooting. They also claim the vehicle was not moving.
Attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter claim the first bullet 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.”
Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis has confirmed the teen died from a gunshot wound to the upper torso, but did not indicate whether the shooting took place from behind or in front. The reason the family is so certain that the cops had shot Zachary Hammond from behind is because they had a private autopsy conducted on Thursday.
Bland is requesting that South Carolina’s attorney general put the case before a statewide grand jury to investigate. Comparing the situation to the Black Lives Matter movement, the lawyer notes that both Hammond and the unidentified police officer are Caucasian. But Bland says white lives matter just as much, and claims the case needs to be investigated just like instances where white police officers shoot unarmed black men.
Seneca Police Chief Covington does say that the police officer shot from point-blank range, and claims when Hammond missed the cop “actually had his hand on or very close to the car, possibly pushed off from the car.”
“The attorney wasn’t there either,” he said. “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.”
Covington is also refusing to release the name of the officer.
“I would reiterate that our hearts and prayers go out to the Hammond family during this extremely difficult time. As attorneys are now involved for both the Hammonds and our department, we have released all of the information that we are able to at this time on the incident.
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.”
The family attorneys both met with the coroner earlier in the week. They claim this meeting led them to believe that the Seneca cop had shot Zachary Hammond in the back.
“Our concern is that we have an independent investigative agency look into this shooting that is very, very troubling. This is a 19-year-old kid without a weapon in his car clearly in the Hardee’s parking lot on a date, and within five minutes he has two shots that appear to be in his back and his side, from an officer shooting him from the back and he’s dead and this family needs answers,” said Bland, according to WYFF4.
“We don’t know all the facts, but we know that Zach Hammond did nothing to deserve to die in a Hardee’s parking lot that night, and from the evidence that we reviewed it’s clear that the shot that killed Zach Hammond came from behind not from in front,” said Richter. “The evidence seems to suggest that the officer was parallel to the driver’s side window at the time the shots were fired, so if the suggestion is the vehicle was traveling toward the officer, I don’t know that the photographs bear that out. That’s for a judge and jury and another day.”
As is standard procedure, the unidentified South Carolina police officer has been placed on administrative leave while the State Law Enforcement Division investigates the shooting of Zachary Hammond.
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