Apr 18, 2012



(NYDailyNews) -- The former Marine shot by cops in his apartment died from a single bullet that entered his right arm and ripped through both lungs, according to an autopsy report obtained by the Daily News.

The lawyer for Kenneth Chamberlain’s family said the autopsy contradicts the police account of his death.

Cops say Chamberlain, 68, was advancing toward police with a butcher knife on Nov. 19 when White Plains Police Officer Anthony Carelli fired two shots to stop him.

Randolph McLaughlin, attorney for Chamberlain’s family, said the trajectory of the fatal bullet suggests Chamberlain was neither facing the police nor holding up a weapon.

“The report clearly shows that Mr. Chamberlain’s arm could not have been raised in a threatening manner with a knife at the moment he was shot,” McLaughlin told The News on Monday night.

The report, completed Nov. 21 by acting Westchester County Chief Medical Examiner Kunjlata Ashar, shows the fatal bullet struck Chamberlain from the side in the “right upper arm, 4½ inches from the right shoulder.”

It went through his arm without hitting bone and entered his right chest, “then passed through the upper lobe of right lung ... through the thoracic vertebra 4 and then through the upper lobe of left lung,” the report said.

“The direction of the wound track is from right to left in a straight line,” Ashar wrote.
Chamberlain died from hemorrhaging in the lungs. The second shot apparently missed.

Police officials have said the officer fired in self-defense and that the shooting fell within department guidelines.

The report offers no opinion as to whether Chamberlain was holding a knife in a threatening manner.

The medical examiner’s office couldn’t immediately be reached.

Since Chamberlain is right-handed, his right arm would have to have been at his side for the bullet to pass through his arms and lungs in a straight line, McLaughlin said.

Because the bullet came from the side, not straight on, the report “makes it impossible for him to be holding a knife in his hand and advancing on police,” he said.

Chamberlain, a heart patient whose yelling from inside his apartment had attracted police to his house before, was killed inside his apartment after police responded to a mistaken medical alert.

They ignored his repeated screams and yells telling them to go away and broke down his door, shooting him with a Taser and a beanbag gun before felling him with a bullet.

After a campaign by Chamberlain’s family crying foul, a grand jury will begin reviewing evidence this week to see if cops committed a crime.

The 14-page autopsy report was released by the medical examiner’s office after repeated requests by McLaughlin, who made a copy of it available to The News.

Ashar also found a “1-inch linear red abrasion” on Chamberlain’s neck, and another abrasion in his abdomen surrounded by burned skin.

Those appear to be signs of the two prongs of a Taser that police shot at Chamberlain when they first entered his apartment.

If one prong grazed only his neck, it would explain why the Taser didn’t knock him to the ground. Chamberlain, was 5-feet-10 and weighed 178 pounds, and had no drugs in his system, according to a toxicology report that accompanied the autopsy.

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