Numerous Gunshots in Fatal Shooting by Police
Updated 4:30 p.m. Monday August 3
Associated Press - August 3, 2009 3:55 PM ET
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A medical examiner's report in Chattanooga shows that the body of a man killed in a police-involved shooting had 43 bullet entry and exit wounds.
Six Chattanooga officers were placed on leave following the shooting of 32-year-old Alonzo Heyward.
The Hamilton County medical examiner's office said Monday it's not known how many times Heyward was shot, because some bullets could have caused multiple wounds. The autopsy report isn't finished yet but is to include detail on the wounds.
Police have said Heyward was outside a restaurant with a rifle to his face and threatening suicide July 18 when police arrived.
Six officers were placed on paid leave for a week.
Police did not return a telephone message seeking comment.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Updated 4:30 p.m. Monday July 27
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- Alonzo Heyward was shot at his home on July 18 by six Chattanooga Police officers. All the officers remain on paid administrative lead, and we are still waiting on the autopsy results.
The Heyward family is still in disbelief over Alonzo's death, but say they are planning to make funeral arrangements soon. The father says the family has to get through the mourning process before they can move on.
James Marine kneels at a makeshift memorial for his son Alonzo Heyward reading cards of condolence. He says family members have made frequent stops by the home to reminisce about better times.
"We look through his lifetime; the good and the bad; we just reflect on that," he said.
On Saturday, July 18, six Chattanooga Police officers shot Heyward multiple times, killing him after police say he was tazed and still managed to grab his gun aiming it at officers.
We checked with the medical examiners office by phone requesting Heyward's autopsy results. The medical examiner told us the report still isn't ready due to the fact that the victim was shot so many times making the autopsy "very complex."
"I just pray that he did not suffer," said Marine.
Our camera was there while Marine loaded his truck with Alonzo's belongings, and as he sifted through the house.
He says one week later, still coping with the pain of losing his son, this father has changed his mind about Chattanooga Police.
Now the family hopes to get more information from the autopsy results, but in the meantime, Marine says he is in a forgiving mood.
"So if I hate them, I am just as bad as them," he said.
Alonzo Heyward's body has been released to the family, but they will wait on autopsy results before funeral arrangements are finalized.
It is still unclear how many shots were fired.
Updated 6:00PM Monday
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- While police have not yet confirmed the number of shots fired eyewitnesses remain emotional after returning to the scene.
Police said early Saturday morning, six Chattanooga Police Officers shot Alonzo Heyward multiple times on his front porch after being tazed and threatening to kill himself.
Heyward's father, James Marine, said when he arrived police were not professional.
"We did not receive any information about what was going on, we were treated very rudely. We had no idea what was going on and they wouldn't tell us anything."
You can see bullet holes around the porch where Alonzo was standing, and inside his home.
Otis Smart, a witness, believes Heyward didn't have to die.
"They had at least 15 seconds to grab the man, it doesn't make any sense."
Family members say they tried to reason with Alonzo while he had the gun pointed under his chin, but officers usually try to keep family out of negotiations.
Kim Noorbergen with the Chattanooga Police Department said, "We are trained, and you don't want family members to get involved."
Police officials said they radioed for a negotiator, but didn't have time to wait for him to arrive.
Marine said, "He even told the officers that I don't mean nobody, no harm."
Updated 6PM Saturday
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- James Heyward is upset after he said his brother Alonzo Heyward was violently gunned down by Chattanooga police officers early Saturday morning.
Police and James said Alonzo had been threatening to kill himself with a rifle.
Police Chief Freeman Cooper said, "Officers tried to get him to put the gun down but he refused."
James Heyward says his younger brother had been dealing with bouts of depression for the past year. Friday night he received a disturbing phone call from Alonzo and he knew something was wrong.
James Heyward said, "He called me last night and he was talking about ending his life."
James and other family members rushed to Alonzo's house to stop him from making a grave mistake.
"He was on the porch with a gun stuck up his neck," Heyward said.
Officers said they spotted Alonzo at a nearby McDonalds restaurant and told him to drop the gun.
He then led police back to his house with his gun in hand, and one of the six officers, tazed Alonzo in an effort to get the gun.
Chief Cooper said, "At some point all the negotiations failed when he pointed his gun towards officers."
That was when officers began firing, killing Heyward at the scene.
But James has a different story, saying his younger brother never pointed the gun at the officers and he died unnecessarily.
"He just clinched the gun, he didn't point it at anyone," Heyward said. "He just grabbed it and clinched on to it and that is when they started firing."
UPDATED 8:30AM SATURDAY
CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- A man who had threatened suicide led police on a chase that ended up in a fatal shooting. The incident began at the McDonald's on Rossville Boulevard and concluded with an early morning shooting in East Chattanooga. Police say they "were forced to take action." CPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Jerri Weary emailed Channel 3 Eyewitness News the following statement:
A call of a man with a rifle resulted in the shooting death of the suspect. According to preliminary reports by investigators, Chattanooga Police were dispatched to 4502 Rossville Blvd on a call of a man in the middle of Rossville Blvd with a rifle. Once officers got on-scene they encountered the suspect standing in front of McDonald's with a rifle to his face.
Officers tried to get the suspect, 32-yr-old Alonzo Hayward, to drop the gun, but he refused. Hayward led officers from the McDonald's parking lot down to 4316 7th Avenue where he engaged police. At some point during contact with Hayward, police were forced to take action and Hayward was shot and subsequently died on the scene.
According to witnesses, Hayward had threatened to commit suicide and several of his friends were trying to talk him out of it when he gained access to the rifle. At some point during the night, Hayward ended up in the middle of Rossville Blvd with the rifle. Passers-by called police and reported several men in the middle of Rossville Blvd wrestling with a man with a gun.
The Chattanooga Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is involved in the investigation.
This shooting comes as Chattanooga Police are assisting in the investigation of a shooting by Chattanooga Housing Authority Police that left 15-year-old Alonzo O'Kelley Jr. dead. O'Kelley died from a single gunshot to the back. Lt. Erik Reeves of CHA Police reports that O'Kelley refused to drop his gun. Read more on that case by clicking here.
Stay with Channel 3 Eyewitness News and WRCBtv.com throughout the day Saturday as new details emerge. If you have pictures or video email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our newsroom at 423-266-5039.
Updated 4:30 p.m. Monday August 3