Family of Wendell Allen disputes police account of shooting


Posted on April 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 18 at 10:32 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- The family of a 20-year-old man shot and killed by an NOPD officer says police are covering up the truth.

Their evidence: a funeral home report. However, police and the Orleans Parish Coroner's Office are sticking to their story.

"My son was coming from right about there and he shot him," said Natasha Allen while walking up to the second floor of her Gentilly home where her son, Wendell Allen, died.

The 20-year-old was shot and killed by NOPD Officer Joshua Colclough after a search warrant was executed at the address.

After the March 8 shooting, police and the coroner's office continue to say that Allen died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Now the Allen family is disputing that account of the officer-involved shooting.

"This is a cover up! This is not the first time, this probably won't be the last," said Helen Shorty, Wendell's grandmother.

On Wednesday afternoon, the family and their attorney held a news conference concerned about an embalming report released by Gaskin, Southall, Gordon and Gordon Mortuary, Inc. The New Orleans funeral home prepared Wendell's body for burial.

"What does this report show us? It shows us the truth is catching up with the lie," said attorney Lionel Lon Burns.

The family and Burns say the funeral home report clearly shows that Wendell was shot in the back and not the chest.

"For six weeks, the New Orleans Police Department, the PID, Mayor Landrieu had me thinking my son was killed in the heart. Coroner's Office you told me directly my son was shot in the heart. To get a piece of paper that says my son was shot in the back. That's coverup to me," said Natasha Allen.

However, both the New Orleans Police Department and the coroner's office maintained on Wednesday that Allen was shot in the chest. However, the 20-year-old's death certificate only says he died from a "gunshot wound".

According to the Times Picayune, Coroner Frank Minyard says the bullet traveled through Allen's thorax and organs, lodging up against the skin of his left back. Minyard says a forensic pathologist later cut in a incision in Allen's back in order to remove the bullet.

Tulane Criminologist Doctor Peter Scharf says the funeral home report would carry little weight in a court of law.

"You've got to call other officers who are experienced in homicide, police officer-involved use of deadly force and pathologists who are use to making sense out of bodies," said Scharf.

The Allen family continues to ask the coroner for a copy of the official autopsy report.

The Coroner's Office refuses to release it to the public, citing the on-going police investigation.