Coroner: Man in police shootout died of self-inflicted gunshot wound

Coroner: Man in police shootout died of self-inflicted gunshot wound

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Orleans Parish Coroner on Tuesday released the cause of death for the 37-year-old man who was involved in a Sunday shootout with police, saying his death was the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In an emailed statement to the media, Coroner Dr. Jeffrey Rouse said police dash camera video of the incident shows suspect Bernie Porche firing a weapon at officers as he ran after a state trooper tried to initiate a traffic stop on a stolen car.

Rouse said officers returned fire from a distance, and Porche fell to the ground. The shooting stops. Rouse said after a brief period of being motionless, Porche then moves his arm, and another shot occurs in close proximity to his head while officers remain at a distance.

Rouse said his autopsy revealed three gunshot wounds to Porche's body. The first bullet entered and exited the upper leg, traversed the groin, and continued into the opposite leg. The second entered the upper back, perforated his left lung, and lodged in the left arm. In both wounds, Rouse said X-rays revealed a ballistic pattern consistent with high-velocity rifle rounds, and fragments were collected for ballistic analysis. Neither of these wounds traversed major blood vessels, and both were potentially survivable.

The third gunshot wound was the fatal shot, according to the coroner. It was a through-and through wound on the right side of the head.

"Significantly, the entrance wound showed evidence of soot deposition on the skin with searing around the edges and soot on the underlying bone," Rouse said in the statement. "This pattern occurs when a bullet is fired with a muzzle in contact with skin.

"Given both the video evidence and the autopsy evidence, the fatal wound is consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot, and the death of Mr. Porche has been preliminarily classified as a suicide."

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