Autopsy final in officer-involved shooting

Chaz York (

On the heels of the victim’s autopsy report, finalized Dec. 2, a Jefferson County grand jury has elected not to pursue charges against a Beaumont police officer involved in shooting a man outside a bar in October.

According to information from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, on Dec. 7 the grand jury “declined to take action in the officer involved shooting of Chaz York, ruling it to be justified.”

The state’s version of events indicates that “Chaz York and associates were at Madison’s on Dowlen in Beaumont” the evening of Oct. 14, and became involved in a physical disturbance inside the business. York and at least one other man were asked to exit the premises, and while both did comply, the altercation continued in the parking lot.

“A patron of Madison’s notified an off-duty Beaumont police officer about a disturbance that was occurring in the parking lot,” District Attorney Bob Wortham’s office reports. “The off duty officer exited the business (showing) his police badge in an attempt to diffuse the situation.

“According to multiple witnesses, York retrieved a baseball bat from the trunk of a car. Witnesses also state that York aggressively approached the officer while brandishing the baseball bat, using vulgarity and threats. The off-duty officer gave multiple verbal instructions for York to drop the bat. York refused to comply with instructions given by the officer and continued to advance. The officer used deadly force to protect himself and others present at the scene. York was pronounced deceased at the scene.”

According to a Dec. 2 final autopsy report obtained by The Examiner, the deceased was shot a total of five times – front, back, and side to side – with two wounds proving fatal. Forensic pathologist Tommy Brown of county-contracted Forensic Medical Management Services, performed the autopsy roughly 7 hours after the deceased’s time of death, according to his penned findings.

York’s toxicology report showed no illegal drug intake but blood alcohol concentration of approximately 0.18, more than double the legal limit of .08 for operating a vehicle in the state of Texas.

According to Brown, “The decedent was dressed in a white shirt, blue underwear, blue jeans, brown belt and black socks.” There is no report of what happened to York’s shoes, but the medical examiner does note that the shooting victim was also brought in with personal property that included “a brown wallet, blue comb, silver colored necklace with cross and gum.”

Brown numbered York’s “multiple gunshot wounds” as 1-5, although it is unclear from his submission why the wounds were described in the order they were. The first gunshot described in the autopsy report details a side to side shot that entered “in the right shoulder with the bullet traveling in a right to left and slightly downward direction.” The path of the bullet noted in “Gunshot Wound #1” was particularly traumatic, according to the report, “going through the right and left upper lobes of the lungs.” Gunshot Wound #2 was a through-and-through with the entrance wound marked in the left upper arm and exiting the back upper left arm. Gunshot Wound #3 “entered the lateral right thigh” and exited the back of the leg. Gunshot Wound #4 was located in “the medial right back area with the bullet traveling posterior to anterior (back to front) and slightly upward.” The description of injuries ends with Gunshot Wound #4 without completing the thought, but does state that among the injuries attributed to this bullet, the trajectory of the projectile took it through the lower lobe of the right lung.

Bullet fragments were recovered from Gunshot Wound #5, located in the right upper arm, with the entrance in the back, roughly 6 inches below the shoulder.

Other noted injuries of the deceased included abrasions to the forehead, left eye and cheek, right knee and right forearm; laceration of his upper lip with chipped upper teeth; and contusion to the right hand. The forensic examiner also noted that the victim suffered “acute ethanol intoxication.”

Brown’s ultimate diagnosis was consistent with the preliminary autopsy findings in that two of the gunshot wounds contributed to York’s death, with the manner of death being a homicide.