Manuel Paez Terán, the Atlanta activist who was fatally shot by officers in January while protesting the construction of a controversial law enforcement training center known as “Cop City,” was struck at least 57 times when police fired their weapons, an autopsy report reveals.
According to the autopsy report from the DeKalb County Medical Examiner, Terán, who went by “Tortuguita” and used they/them pronouns, sustained gunshot wounds to their entire body, including their head, torso, hands and legs.
“While the autopsy report provides additional information, it does not bring the family closer to the answers they seek,” Terán’s family said in a statement.
Police said Terán, who was shot during a protest at the site of the proposed Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, also fired a weapon at that time and wounded a trooper. Friends and family, however, said the 26-year-old had their hands raised and was no threat to police, NBC News reported.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which previously released a photo of the gun it alleges Terán was carrying, said forensic analysis matched the round which wounded the trooper to that gun. According to the GBI, Teran legally bought the gun in 2020.
The autopsy was unable to determine Terán’s “body position” during the shooting because of “too many variables with respect to movement of the decedent and the shooters.”
“Since most shootings involving multiple gunshots are dynamic events, attempts to place the decedent in any particular position at a specific point in time is fraught with potential inaccuracies,” the autopsy concluded according to CBS News.
Teran’s family released the results of an independent autopsy last month. According to the report, Teran had their hands up and was sitting cross-legged at the time of the shooting.
The GBI also said there is no body camera footage of the shooting.
Per The Guardian, experts say that Paez’s death is unprecedented by being “the first time that an environmental activist has been killed by police in US history.”
Fox 5 Atlanta says that Terán’s death has been ruled a homicide, according to the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office.