“I would never knowingly shoot a police officer,” said Kenneth Walker, Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend, as his attorneys file a lawsuit against LMPD. Louisville Courier Journal
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Firearms experts say a ballistics report from Kentucky State Police shows Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend fired the shot that wounded a Louisville officer and prompted police to return fire, killing Taylor.
The authorities said the four-page report dismisses the theory that Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly was hit by “friendly fire” from his own officers and supports Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s conclusion that the 9 mm round that severed Mattingly’s femoral artery came from the gun fired by Kenneth Walker.
The ballistics report, part of the investigative file released Wednesday by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, shows that only one 9 mm bullet and cartridge casing was found at Taylor’s apartment. Walker had previously acknowledged firing one shot from his legally-owned Glock 9 mm handgun.
The Courier Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network, previously reported that an abbreviated state police reportsaid “due to limited markings of comparative value,” the 9 mm bullet that hit and exited Mattingly’s thigh was neither “identified nor eliminated as having been fired” from Walker’s gun.
Cameron previously said Hankison had been eliminated as the shooter because the three officers were all carrying .40-caliber handguns, while Walker had a 9 mm.
One of Walker’s attorneys, Steve Romines, said personnel records show Hankison was also issued a 9 mm pistol and may have used it during the search, shooting Mattingly.
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But Charles Stephenson, a Kansas City-based firearms instructor and security consultant who is a former FBI agent, said in an email that the recovery of a single 9 mm bullet at the crime scene, together with Walker’s admission he fired one time, shows he must have been the shooter.
Melissa Oberg, an Indianapolis firearms examiner, also said the round had to have been fired by Walker.
Mattingly’s lawyer, Kent Wicker, has said it was “absurd” to think Hankison changed weapons during the shootout, in which officers fired 32 times.
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In a series of texts, Romines said he is still not persuaded that Walker fired the shot that wounded Mattingly.
Romines said there is no way to determine that Mattingly was shot with a 9 mm in part “because no round was recovered from him.”
Romines also said there is no difference between the wound caused by a 9 mm and by a 40-caliber round because they are so close in size.
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The report says that 32 cartridge casings from 40-caliber guns were found, which match the number of rounds investigators said were fired by three officers — Mattingly, Detective Myles Cosgrove and former Detective Brett Hankison.
Walker has said he fired a “warning” shot because he thought someone was trying to break in.
Although they were armed with a no-knock warrant, Mattingly and other officers have said repeatedly they knocked and announced they were police officers before battering down Taylor’s door to try to search her apartment for drugs and cash.
No drugs or cash were recovered at the apartment.
Follow Andrew Wolfson on Twitter: @adwolfson.
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