Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Witnesses Say Darrius Stewart Tried to Run, Schilling Shot Him From Behind

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2015 at 10:16 AM

Connor Schilling
  • Connor Schilling
After a struggle on the ground, Memphis Police officer Connor Schilling shot Darrius Stewart, who then tried to run away. Schilling shot Stewart a second time as he ran away, according to several witness statements in the TBI investigation into the Stewart case released this morning.

One witness, whose name was redacted from the report, said they were driving down Winchester when he or she noticed Schilling and Stewart "wrestling in a grassy area." The witness was talking to another person when they heard the first gunshot, so they didn't see that happen. The witness turned back to the scene and saw Stewart, who had been shot, attempting to flee. The witness said "the officer shot him again" as he tried to run.

Another witness, whose name was also redacted, was pulling into his or her apartment when they noticed Schilling and Stewart wrestling.

Here's part of that witness' statement:
"Darius [sic] was trying to get up, and the officer was trying to hold him down. I turned to get my phone to video it because, at that time, I felt the officer was doing his job. As I turned to get my phone, I heard a gunshot. I did not see what caused the officer to shoot. When I turned back around, they were both still on the ground, and I saw the officer getting up. I then saw Darius [sic] start getting up. He turned to run, and I saw the officer shot him in the back [sic]. I was only able to get video of them after Darius [sic] ran over by a bush in the dark area."

Another witness was pulling out of his or her apartment onto Winchester. The witness saw another witness pulled over, watching the scene and that witness' truck was blocking the apartment exit.

"Before I said anything to the man in the truck about moving his truck, I heard the boy that was stopped by the cop hollering 'I can't breathe. I can't fucking breathe.' The officer was standing beside the boy, and it looked like the boy was trying to get up off the ground with his legs without using his arms. The boy kept hollering on loud. ... When the boy got up, I saw the officer extend his arm, and then I heard 'pow.'," the witnesses' account said.

According to Stewart's autopsy, he was shot twice, but one shot went into his right upper chest and the other his left upper arm. The second shot exited and entered his lateral chest wall, it says.

On July 17th, Schilling stopped the vehicle Stewart was a passenger in. Stewart was placed inside Schilling's patrol car while he checked for warrants. Stewart had warrants, and when Schilling attempted to handcuff Stewart, the officer says the 19-year-old then tried to assault Schilling with his cuffs. Schilling fired his service weapon and struck Stewart, who died later at Regional One Health.

The case was investigated by the TBI, and by law, TBI investigatory files are sealed unless ordered open by a court. Based on the TBI investigation, District Attorney General Amy Weirich recommended to a grand jury that Schilling be indicted for voluntary manslaughter and employment of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, but the jury chose not to indict. Weirich then filed a petition in Chancery Court to have the TBI files opened to the public. Those files were posted on the DA website this morning.

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