Pubdate: Tue, 21 Jul 1998
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX) 
Author: S.K. Bardwell


Autopsy report indicates that nine shots were in the back

Houston police who forced their way into Pedro Oregon Navarro's apartment
without a warrant shot him 12 times, including nine times in the back, an
autopsy showed.

The autopsy also indicated that nine of those 12 shots had a downward
trajectory, indicating they were fired from a position over Oregon, 23.

"The Houston Police Department is aware of and has received a copy of the
Harris County medical examiner's report," HPD spokesman Robert Hurst said

"The department is cooperating fully with the Harris County District
Attorney's Office in their investigation."

A Mexican government envoy, Erasmus Martinez, flew here from Mexico City on
Monday and met with Oregon's family at his home in the 6700 block of Atwell.
He also met for more than an hour with HPD Assistant Chief Mike Thaler, who
is acting chief while Chief C.O. Bradford is out of town, Hurst said.

After the meeting, Martinez expressed confidence in the investigations by
HPD and the district attorney office's civil rights division, but said that
his government may ask that the U.S. Justice Department look into the matter
as well.

Oregon was shot to death July 12 after members of the gang task force
assigned to the Southwest Patrol Division raided Oregon's apartment. The
raid reportedly was on the basis of information from a confidential informant.

Sources have said the officers arrested that informant just prior to the raid.

Bradford has said there are indications the officers violated HPD policy
requiring that all informants meet certain criteria and be registered with
the department.

The officers said they opened fire after Oregon pointed a pistol at them. No
drugs were found in the apartment of Oregon, who is survived by a widow and
two daughters.

The autopsy report says Oregon had a gunshot wound to the head, left hand
and left shoulder and nine wounds to the back.

Other than three wounds -- to the shoulder, hand and back -- all the shots
were noted as traveling downward through Oregon's body, indicating they were
fired from above his body.

Oregon's family has said the officers continued shooting him after he had
fallen to the floor. Bullet holes were found in the floor where Oregon fell.

"All the wounds are disturbing," said attorney Paul Nugent, hired by
Oregon's family. Nugent met Monday evening with medical examiner Dr. Joye
Carter to discuss the autopsy findings.

The report said four bullets were recovered from Oregon's body, as well as
two bullet fragments. The other shots apparently traveled through his body.

Officer Lamont E. Tillery, 30, was shot in the shoulder during the melee but
saved from serious injury by his bulletproof vest.

Ballistics tests determined that Tillery was shot by a fellow officer. A
weapon was recovered from Oregon's bedroom, but it is unknown whether that
gun had been fired.

Relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of investigations are Officers
Tillery, David R. Barrera, 28, Pete A. Herrada, 28, David Perkins, 30, and
James R. Willis, 28, and Sgt. Darrell H. Strouse, 34.

Copyright 1998 Houston Chronicle

- ---
Checked-by: Melodi Cornett