Michael Brown shooting: Department of Justice orders federal autopsy

An undated photo of Michael Brown, Jr. who was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 9.

Last Updated Aug 17, 2014 4:30 PM EDT

Federal officials announced Sunday the decision to perform their own autopsy on the body of the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last week.

The state of Missouri is performing its own autopsy on the corpse of Michael Brown, the black teen who was unarmed and shot several times by a white officer.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said: "Due to the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family, Attorney General Holder has instructed Justice Department officials to arrange for an additional autopsy to be performed by a federal medical examiner. This independent examination will take place as soon as possible."

Justice Department officials said they will still take the results of the state-performed autopsy "into account in the course of their investigation."

Federal officials had previously announced they were looking into possible civil rights violations in the case.

David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor who supervised the criminal civil rights section of Miami's U.S. Attorney's office, told the Associated Press a federally conducted autopsy "more closely focused on entry point of projectiles, defensive wounds and bruises" might help that investigation, and that the move is "not that unusual."

The incident in question has been a tale of two sides so far. Local law enforcement said Brown was shot after a scuffle with the officer, and even released highly controversial surveillance video they claim shows Brown robbing a convenience store shortly before he was killed.

Locals have said Brown was gunned down with his hands raised after asking the officer not to shoot him.

Tensions over the case have led to several nights of violent unrest in the suburban St. Louis community.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson said protesters weren't the reason for the escalated police reaction early Sunday morning after the midnight curfew took effect, but a report of people who had broken into a barbecue restaurant and taken to the roof, and a man who flashed a handgun in the street as armored vehicles approached the crowd of protesters.

Also overnight, a man was shot and critically wounded in the same area, but not by police; authorities were searching for the shooter. Someone also shot at a police car, officials said.

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