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Chavis Carter told girlfriend he had a gun in patrol car before he committed suicide, say Ark. police

Chavis Carter Personal photo/Facebook

Chavis Carter
Personal photo/Facebook

(CBS/AP) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -The girlfriend of a man who was fatally shot in the back of an Arkansas patrol car told an investigator that he called her from the car and said he had a gun with him, police said Wednesday.

Pictures: Ark. police say handcuffed man shot himself

Jonesboro police released a four-page statement to the media that it said briefly described its investigation to date into the July 28 death of 21-year-old Chavis Carter. The death was ruled a suicide in an autopsy report released earlier this week.

Carter's girlfriend also told the investigator that Carter told her he loved her and that he was scared, according to the statement, which did not identify the woman.

Phone records showed Carter made two calls, at least one of which was from the back of the patrol car, police said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Lyle Waterworth said the department is still investigating Carter's death. Waterworth said evidence and witness statements support the medical examiner's conclusion that Carter killed himself.

Police have been facing criticism after they said officers searched Carter twice but didn't find a gun before he was fatally shot in a patrol car.

Jonesboro Police Chief Michael Yates told The Associated Press that the department had requested gunshot residue testing in Carter's case.

The Arkansas state crime lab on Wednesday said hat it didn't perform gunshot residue testing on Carter, saying it doesn't do that kind of analysis on victims of homicides or suicides.

The lab's chief criminalist, Lisa Channell, told the AP that the testing can indicate whether a person was in an environment with gunshot residue, but "it cannot tell you whether the person pulled the trigger or not."

"Obviously if a deceased individual has a gunshot wound to their body, they were in a gunshot residue environment," Channell said. "We can tell you that without doing the test."

The crime lab did conduct toxicology tests on Carter and found that meth and other drugs were in his system.

Police have released video recorded from dashboard cameras the night of the shooting, but the footage doesn't appear to show when officers found Carter slumped over and bleeding in the backseat of a patrol car as described in a police report.

Complete coverage of the Chavis Carter case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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