Firearms Experts’ Report Shows Breonna Taylor’s Boyfriend Fired Shot That Wounded Officer, Dismissing ‘Friendly Fire’ Theory

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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Firearms experts say a report from Kentucky State Police dismisses the theory that a Louisville Police Officer was hit with “friendly fire” during a raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment, and that Taylor’s boyfriend fired the shot that wounded the officer and prompted police to return fire, numerous sources reported.

The four-page report supports Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s conclusion that Sgt. Jon Mattingly was fired upon by Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker and Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove returned fire, killing Taylor, the Courier Journal reported Friday.

Only one 9 mm bullet and cartridge casing was found at Taylor’s apartment according to the report that was released by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Walker had previously acknowledged firing one shot from his legally-owned Glock 9 mm handgun. He has said that he fired a “warning” shot because he thought someone was trying to break into the apartment. 

Kansas-city based firearms instructor, security consultant and former FBI agent Charles Stephenson said that the recovery of a single 9 mm bullet from the crime scene paired with Walker’s admission that he fired one time shows he must have been the shooter, according to the Courier Journal. Melissa Oberg, an Indianapolis firearms examiner, also said the round had to have been fired by Walker.

Walker’s attorney previously claimed the bullet that struck Mattingly did not exit Mattingly’s body, and could have been the result of friendly fire, WKYT reported. Steve Romines, one of Walker’s attorneys said personnel records show that former Detective Brett Hankison was also issued a 9 mm pistol that could have been used during the search, and may have shot Mattingly. 

An abbreviated state police report said that “due to limited markings of comparative value,” the 9 mm bullet that hit and exited Mattingly’s thigh was neither “identified nor eliminated as having been fired” from Walker’s gun, the Courier Journal previously reported.

The report says that 32 cartridge casings from 40-caliber guns were found, which matches the number of rounds investigators  said were fired by the three officers. 

Mattingly and the other officer have said that they knocked and announced they were police officers several times before they broke down the door of the apartment, although they had a no-knock warrant related to a drug investigation. Walker told police he and Taylor heard knocks but no one answered when he asked who was there. Walker was originally charged with attempted murder and assault and the charges were dropped nearly two months later. He also sued to prevent the charges from being re-filed. 

The drugs and cash the officers were looking for were not found.

Romines said he is still not persuaded that his client fired the shot that wounded the officer, and added that there was no way to determine that Mattingly was shot with a 9 mm because “no round was recovered from him,” he told the Courier Journal. He also said that there is no difference in the wounds caused by a 9 mm and by a 40-caliber round because they are so close in size. 

A grand jury indicted Hankison Sept. 23 on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree, while the two other officers, Cosgrove and Mattingly, were not indicted.

LOUISVILLE, KY – SEPTEMBER 23: In this handout photo provided by the Shelby County Detention Center, former Louisville, Kentucky detective Brett Hankison poses for a mug shot on September 23, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the night Breonna Taylor was killed by police. (Photo by Shelby County Detention Center via Getty Images)

Cameron said when announcing the findings that an “independent witness” corroborated the claims that the officers announced their presence, and that Cosgrove and Mattingly were “justified in their use of force after having been fired upon.” (RELATED: Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron Announces Grand Jury Indictment Of One Of Three Officers In Breonna Taylor Shooting Case)