HOUSTON (AP) — A private autopsy shows a Houston-area police officer shot a mentally ill woman in the stomach, chest and face when the two struggled during an attempted arrest, a lawyer for the victim’s family said Wednesday.
Attorney Ben Crump presented the autopsy report at a press conference. He and Pamela Turner’s family said Baytown police must be held accountable for the May 13 killing that was caught on video.
Police have said Officer Juan Delacruz opened fire after the 44-year-old woman hit him in the groin with his Taser during a struggle. Turner’s family has presented the officer as the aggressor, and they repeatedly said Wednesday that he shouldn’t have escalated a confrontation with a woman he knew had paranoid schizophrenia.
“The police officer never de-escalated the situation ever,” said Crump “Even when she was on the ground and he was a safe distance away from her he continued to escalate.”
Crump declined to say who performed the private autopsy on Turner, who was African American.
In a video recorded by a witness and posted on social media, Delacruz can be seen standing over Turner and reaching down to try to grab her arms. Turner, who is lying on the ground outside her apartment complex in Baytown, yells “I’m pregnant.”
Moments later, something flashes as she reaches her arm out toward the officer. Suddenly, he pulls away from Turner, steps back and fires five gunshots.
Crump said Wednesday that the private autopsy found no evidence of Turner having been pregnant. Soon after the shooting, police said she was not pregnant, citing the medical examiner’s office in Harris County
The medical examiner’s office has not released Turner’s autopsy report. It ruled her death a homicide.
Turner’s funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Thursday at the Lilly Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Houston.