Autopsy Of Man Killed In Officer-Involved Shooting Details Self-Inflicted Injuries, Substance Abuse

DA Swanson and Chief Brad Meyers officer-involved shooting presser. Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow. 04/05/19.

FREDONIA – An autopsy by the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that numerous minor and major self-inflicted sharp force injuries to the upper extremities of Gueorgui “George” Penev, the man shot and killed by Fredonia Police Officer Nathan Scriven on Dec. 10, would have quickly proven fatal, likely even with surgery, according to the investigative report released Friday from Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson. 

The medical examiner, whose name was redacted from Swanson’s report, said that the cause of death was penetrating gunshot wounds of the torso. The manner of death was homicide, with Swanson’s report stating that the manner of death isn’t a legal conclusion that a crime was committed or that the death was caused by criminal conduct.

Swanson, in addition, stated that the word “homicide” is terminology a medical examiner uses when an individual’s death is caused by another person. Scriven was cleared of any wrongdoing by Swanson’s office following a months-long investigation.

The medical examiner stated in their final diagnosis that Penev sustained multiple sharp force (stab and incised) wounds of head, neck chest, and upper extremities. Penev, specifically, sustained skin and soft tissue injuries, fracturing/tool marks of mandible, sternum, costal cartilages and rib.

In addition, Penev also reportedly sustained injuries of pleurae, pericardium, heart, left internal thoracic vessels, upper lobe of left lung and pulmonary trunk.

According to the report, there were four penetrating gunshot wounds of the torso that created injuries to the left lung, liver, intestines and major blood vessels.

A toxicology examination revealed that Penev’s blood contained cocaethylene, cocaine, mitragynine, LSD and cannabinoids. Cocaethylene is, according to the report, a “unique” substance that results in the blood when alcohol and cocaine are metabolized in the liver. The substance is reportedly 30 percent more toxic than cocaine alone.

Swanson’s report states that cocaethylene’s affect of increasing both dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain increases the risk that an individual will engage in more impulsive behaviors, including violence.

Mitragyine is a drug that comes from the Kratom plant. Swanson’s report says that the drug acts in some cases like an opioid and a stimulant.

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