By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
A FORENSIC pathologist yesterday confirmed that the purported sequence of events surrounding the shooting death of a teenager by a police officer in Yellow Elder Gardens five years ago corresponded with the two gunshot wounds the victim received.
Dr Caryn Sands said Sergeant Antoine Hamilton's in-court demonstration of what took place when he shot and killed Antonio Duncanson in October 15, 2013, can be supported by the respective paths the bullets travelled after they penetrated the 18-year-old's body.
Prior to her saying as much, Dr Sands confirmed that Duncanson suffered two gunshot wounds as a result of the shooting --one in the head and one in his right thigh.
According to Dr Sands, one bullet entered the left side of his head, more towards the front, and exited on the right side, with the bullet travelling in a slightly downward pattern.
Dr Sands also said there was evidence of close range fire on the skin surrounding the entry wound, suggesting that the barrel of Sgt Hamilton's gun was between two to three feet away from Duncanson's head when he fired the shot.
Concerning the shot in Duncanson's right thigh, Dr Sands said the bullet entered the inner part of the teenager's upper right thigh, but did not exit his body. Instead, the bullet was recovered in Duncanson's hip, just above the entrance wound.
Based on the information she received around the time she conducted the autopsy, Duncanson had died on the way to the hospital despite medical intervention.
Sgt Hamilton, in questioning Dr Sands on her testimony, decided to give her an illustration of the events that took place on the date in question, enlisting the assistance of the court orderly to execute his demonstration.
Sgt Hamilton placed the court orderly in front of him, explaining that on the date in question, he was chasing a particular suspect, purportedly Duncanson.
After a while, Sgt Hamilton said the suspect glanced back and noticed that Sgt Hamilton was right on his tail and closing in quick, causing the suspect to reach to his right, rear waist for a firearm.
At that point, Sgt Hamilton acknowledged that the suspect's back was facing him, thus meaning that he was not an immediate threat.
However, the officer said the suspect subsequently took the gun from his waist, and "put one in the chamber" before turning to his left and ultimately around to face the officer, the gun trained on him.
At that point, Sgt Hamilton said he fired one shot at the suspect's right leg, in an attempt to prevent him from firing at him. However, he said the suspect did not falter and continued to aim at him, forcing him to fire one shot at his head.
Sgt Hamilton then asked Dr Sands that if during the autopsy she conducted on Duncanson, she noted any gunshot wounds on the teenager's back that would suggest he shot him from behind.
Dr Sands said no.
Sgt Hamilton then asked Dr Sands that based on the autopsy she conducted on Duncanson and her experience, if the trajectory of the bullet that travelled through the deceased's upper right thigh could have been sustained in a manner similar to what was illustrated in his demonstration.
Dr Sands replied by saying the scenario he gave correlated with the wound on Duncanson's inner thigh, as no one standing still, much less directly facing a shooter, would likely receive such an injury upon being shot.
Additionally, Dr Sands said the wound, more specifically the trajectory the bullet travelled, suggested that the victim was in motion or that his leg was bent in some way to expose the inner portion of his right thigh.
Dr Sands also confirmed that while the wound in his head was interesting, the trajectory of the bullet also matched up with the scenario Sgt Hamilton gave.
However, Dr Sands stressed that when conducting the autopsy, she did not know the manner in which Duncanson was shot or which shot preceded the other.
She also stated that neither gunshot was "immediately fatal," but said they were indeed "traumatic," particularly the one to Duncanson's head, as that one was "concussive" and may have caused him to lose consciousness.
Dr Sands' testimony came during an inquest to investigate and determine the circumstances surrounding Duncanson's death.
According to the evidence previously led during the inquest, Sgt Hamilton was one of two officers, the other being Reserve Superintendent Christopher Pennerman, who was asked to assist in the apprehension of an "individual of interest" who was suspected of being in possession of a firearm.
Around 1.50pm on the date in question, the three officers of "Charlie Delta 10," one of whom was former Police Constable Carey, received certain information about two males suspected of being in possession of a firearm.
As a result of the information they received, the former officer said his unit went to Yellow Elder Gardens and conducted a mobile surveillance of the area in an unmarked police vehicle.
While doing so, former P/C Carey said he observed the man dressed in orange brandishing a chrome handgun, which he subsequently placed in his waistband.
Upon seeing this, former P/C Carey said he contacted police control room for backup.
The crew of "Alpha Echo 3," led by Sgt Hamilton and Reserve Supt Pennerman arrived in the area a short while later, after which former P/C Carey said he guided them towards where the two suspects were.
When Reserve Supt Pennerman took the witness stand, he said both he and Sgt Hamilton were led to the intersection of Seymour Street and Lightbourne Avenue, where the crew of Charlie Delta 10 pointed out two men walking north along Seymour Street.
One of them wore an orange shirt and dark-coloured pants and orange and blue Nike sneakers, he said. The other wore a green Heineken shirt, black pants and sneakers.
As he and Sgt Hamilton approached the two men in their police vehicle, Reserve Supt Pennerman said both fled in separate directions; the man in the orange shirt ran past the car and north along Seymour Street and onto Old Cedar Street while the other one, whom former P/C Carey said was Jaquan Rolle, ran south.
Reserve Supt Pennerman said Sgt Hamilton, who was driving, got out of the car and immediately gave chase. Reserve Supt Pennerman said he then hopped in the driver's seat and moved the car to a secure location before also giving chase.
Upon reaching Old Cedar Street, Reserve Supt Pennerman said the man in the orange shirt turned left onto a dirt road and pulled a handgun from his waist.
In fear of their lives, Res Supt Pennerman said Sgt Hamilton drew his service weapon and fired three shots at the suspect, who subsequently fell back on the ground.
During previous proceedings, Sgt Hamilton openly apologised to Duncanson's grandmother, Theresa Duncanson, for having to killer her grandson.
However, he maintained that "It was either my life or his."
The case continues.