(Reuters) - An autopsy on the body of the black teenager shot and killed by white St. Louis police officers this week shows the 18-year-old died from a single gunshot that entered his back and struck his heart, a medical examiner said on Friday.The incident is reminiscent of the shooting death of James Guy Jr., 22, on April 22, 2011, when Colorado Springs Police Officer Nathan Jorstad claimed he shot Guy in the chest but an autopsy later that day revealed he was shot in the back. Police also claimed they gave Guy a verbal warning before the fatal shot, but police and District Attorney's Office investigative files clearly report that no warning of any kind was given, and in fact Jorstad told investigators he sneaked up on Guy.
The finding could escalate tensions that flared immediately after the shooting Wednesday, as protesters and family members of the slain teen questioned police accounts that Mansur Ball-Bey pointed a gun at officers.
The results of the autopsy show Ball-Bey was struck in the upper right part of his back by a bullet that hit his heart and an artery next to the heart, said St. Louis Chief Medical Examiner Michael Graham.
That and other findings from the autopsy appear to contradict the account of the incident given by police, who said that two officers shot at Ball-Bey when he pointed a gun at them as he fled a home where police were serving a search warrant. Police said that Ball-Bey dropped his weapon and continued running after he was shot.