While much of the media is focused on the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the March shooting death of 22-year-old African-American Victor White III in Iberia Parish, Louisiana should receive more coverage.
The shooting occurred in the backseat of a Louisiana state police patrol car after White was arrested for drug possession. White’s hands were cuffed behind his back as he was transported to jail. Once there, he reportedly did not want to get out of the patrol car. At some point, a gun that he was allegedly hiding in his pants appeared, and he shot himself in the back, according to police reports.
However, the autopsy report, finally released two days ago by the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office, details how White was shot in the chest, completely contradicting earlier police reports made after the fateful night in early March.
The bullet entered the young man’s chest and pierced his left lung and his heart before exiting around his armpit, according to the autopsy, which also called White’s death a “suicide.”
How exactly does a man with his hands cuffed behind his back produce a gun and shoot himself in the chest? Also, how is it that officers, who searched White twice, did not find the gun? The first time they found a small amount of marijuana. A second search produced cigars and a small amount of cocaine, which White admitted, were his.
Readers familiar with James Lee Burke’s iconic Iberia Parish Detective Dave Robicheaux might be familiar with the setting of this tragic, real-life case. But the plot and denouement read more like Burke’s fiction than fact.