A Texas college student likely died from a gunshot wound to his back after making a sarcastic remark to the campus police officer who killed him.
Autopsy results show 23-year-old Cameron Redus was shot five times at close range by Cpl. Christopher Carter, a University of Incarnate Word police officer, during an early morning Dec. 6 traffic stop near the San Antonio campus.
KENS-TV reported that the autopsy performed the following day showed Redus, a student at the private Catholic university, was shot in the back, left eye, upper chest, left elbow, and right hip.
While the locations of the five shots had been previously known, autopsy results released Thursday to the TV news station revealed new details.
“We are stunned to learn that Cameron was shot in the back from very close range,” the student’s family said in a statement. “The report also shows that the shot to his eye was delivered at a downward angle, again from very close range. That knowledge coupled with information from the earlier police report indicating that Cameron died on his back with his legs underneath him has left us heartbroken and shaken to the core.”
The shooting gained national attention after witnesses reported that the officer never warned Redus before emptying his gun on the student after he made a derisive remark.
“I heard (the student) say, ‘Oh, you’re gonna shoot me?’ like sarcastic almost,” said witness Mohammad Haidarasl.
The medical examiner noted the bullet that was “the most immediately lethal” entered the student’s back, severed his spinal cord, struck a major blood vessel in his chest, and became lodged in the sac surrounding his heart.
The gunshot wound to Redus’ eye could also have been lethal, the autopsy reported.
The autopsy noted a band of contusions around the student’s neck, but the medical examiner said the bruising could have been caused when Redus was thrown to the ground or by a nearby gunshot wound.
A toxicology report found that Redus’ blood-alcohol content was 0.155, nearly twice the legal limit for driving in Texas, and a separate test conducted using vitreous fluid from the student’s eye showed a higher 0.186 level.
Redus also tested positive for trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active component in marijuana.
Police said Carter spotted Redus driving erratically about 2 a.m. and followed the pickup outside his jurisdiction, reported the San Antonio Express-News, but the officer was authorized to arrest suspected drunken drivers anywhere in the state.
Carter activated his emergency lights near Treehouse Apartments, where Redus parked and got out of the vehicle.
A microphone on Carter’s uniform recorded the officer ordering Redus 14 times to place his hands behind his back and telling him three times he was under arrest, police said. A dashboard camera in the officer’s police cruiser did not record the six-minute encounter.
Carter told Redus to stop resisting 56 times, police said, and the officer said the student grabbed his baton at one point and struck him with it.
The officer said he shot Redus after regaining control of the baton, saying the student charged him with his hand raised.
His family said the toxicology report shows Redus made poor choices prior to his confrontation with the officer, but they said he posed no public threat after correctly parking his vehicle and walking toward his apartment.
“We are confident that had this encounter taken place on a public roadway and during a routine traffic stop that Cameron’s alleged response and the ultimate outcome of this event would have been different,” his family said in the statement.
They also agreed with law enforcement officials that the outcome would likely have been different if a backup officer had been present.
“While mistakes do bear consequences, the extreme and brutal results of Cameron’s encounter with Officer Carter far exceed the magnitude of his mistakes,” family members said. “We continue to wait on justice to be done and we maintain our faith and trust in God’s amazing love.”
Carter is currently on administrative leave as the Alamo Heights Police Department and Texas Rangers investigate.
March 21, 2014