Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis and Minister of National Security Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris has apparently instructed officials at the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force to withhold the autopsy report of 30-year-old Leroy Henry, who was shot and killed by police February 18th.
The shooting death took place at the scene of a domestic dispute between Henry and his wife Unella Henry at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, February 18, at Upper Malone Avenue.
Sources within the Police Force have disclosed that the autopsy report which was conducted by the forensic pathologist on February 22nd revealed that Mr. Henry died as a result of two bullets from police officers. Sources further revealed that one of the bullets struck Henry on the left side of the head and exited on the opposite side, and the other in his chest and pierced his lungs.
This comes as a shock to the family of Mr. Henry and persons of the wider community, as immediately following the shooting of Mr. Henry, officers stated that they had opened fire on the scene solely as an attempt to stop him from harming or further harming himself.
Given what we know of this case, it is hardly likely that police were seeking to prevent Henry from harming himself. It is also doubtful whether Henry was even trying to harm himself. According to international best practice as it relates to police intervention in suicide cases, officers are trained to refrain from opening fire on the person of interest, but rather, apply other means to prevent a suicide attempt. In the most extreme cases, if a police officer opens fire on the victim in question, the aim should be to disarm the individual but not to end their life.
It is as a result of this advice why the family of the deceased and persons of the general public are confused as to why police officers shot Henry in his head and in his chest. Sources close to the family have disclosed that they intend to seek further legal advice on this matter, and are determined to take the Harris-led government to court.
Speaking on the matter, a former Top COP in St. Kitts and Nevis said that an officer must have a justifiable reason to open fire, adding that it must be in an attempt to preserve life or to save property. The Top COP also noted that in a case like this where the police officers shot someone whom they claim was attempting to commit suicide, they should not have taken aim “at his chest or his head. Those are shots to kill and the government will most likely lose this case if it is brought to court.”
Persons of the community have joined the family and friends of Mr. Henry in demanding that the government release the autopsy report of Mr. Henry, as well as a report from the force justifying their reasons for shooting Mr. Henry.