Statement on the Officer-Involved Shooting of Bernie Porche

NEW ORLEANS | August 24, 2016 – “On Sunday, August 21, 2016, Mr. Porche was involved in an incident at the corner of Law and New Orleans streets with Louisiana State Police and New Orleans Police Department officers and was transported to University Medical Center, where he expired. In keeping with my policy regarding deaths involving law enforcement, his autopsy was delayed to permit independent witnesses during my office’s examination.

In addition to myself, my Chief Investigator, and my Chief Forensic Pathologist, present at Mr. Porche’s autopsy were representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Independent Police Monitor, the Federal Consent Decree Monitor, the Louisiana State Police, and the Force Investigation Team of the New Orleans Police Department.

Prior to initiation of autopsy, police dash camera video of the incident was reviewed by all parties. On this video, Mr. Porche fired a weapon at officers as he ran. Officers return fire from a distance, and Mr. Porche falls to the ground. Then the shooting ceases. After a brief period of being motionless, Mr. Porche then moves his arm, and another shot occurs in close proximity to his head, while officers remain at a distance.

On autopsy, three gunshot wounds were observed. The first wound enters and exits the upper leg, traverses the groin, and continues into the opposite leg. The second wound enters the upper back, perforates the left lung, and ends in the left arm. In both these wounds, x-rays revealed a ballistic pattern consistent with high-velocity rifle rounds, and fragments were collected for ballistic analysis. Neither of these wounds traversed major blood vessels and were potentially survivable.

The third gunshot wound was the fatal shot. This wound had an entrance on the right side of the head and exit on the left, leaving no fragments observable on x-ray nor recoverable for analysis. Significantly, the entrance wound showed evidence of soot deposition on the skin with searing around the edges and soot on the underlying bone. This pattern occurs when a bullet is fired with a muzzle in contact with skin.

Given both the video evidence and the autopsy evidence, the fatal wound is consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot, and the death of Mr. Porche has been preliminarily classified as a suicide.”