A man killed by a New Orleans police officer in New Orleans East early Monday morning was identified Tuesday as Calvin McKinnis Jr., a 33-year-old Army veteran.
Orleans Parish Coroner Jeffrey Rouse said an autopsy determined McKinnis was shot in his buttocks and back, perforating his abdominal organs and his heart.
Police said McKinnis fired first at Officer Fredrick Carter, a 15-year veteran of the NOPD who was not injured during the encounter on Chef Menteur Highway.
Rouse said there were no signs of trauma aside from the bullet wounds and a slight scrape on McKinnis’ cheek, which could have been caused by a fall to the ground after he was shot. Rouse said the autopsy’s findings were consistent with footage from Carter’s body-worn camera, which captured the shooting.
Police said the incident began when McKinnis’ Mazda MPV minivan was pulled over for a license-plate violation about 4:20 a.m. in the 8800 block of Chef Menteur. According to police, McKinnis fired one shot at Carter as the officer walked toward the van from his marked vehicle. At that point, police said, the officer retreated toward his car and then fired five shots of his own.
McKinnis died at the scene. Police said a firearm was recovered next to his body.
Carter remains on reassignment as the investigation continues. Police have said, however, that the Force Investigation Team — a special internal affairs unit set up under the terms of a 2012 consent decree mandating sweeping reforms in the NOPD — has concluded on the basis of body-worn and dashboard camera video that McKinnis fired the first shot.
Ursula Price, the deputy independent police monitor, said her office also was granted access to the crime scene as well as the body-worn camera footage on Monday morning.
“Everything was very transparent and appropriate, as far as how the scene was run,” Price said.
McKinnis was the fourth person killed by a New Orleans police officer this year. The NOPD’s Public Integrity Bureau has returned the officers involved in the three previous shootings to duty without filing charges against them.
McKinnis’ half-sister, Alexa McKinnis, said family members reacted with “disbelief” to the news of his death. Alexa McKinnis said she had never known him to have any problems with the law more serious than a traffic ticket.
McKinnis was accused of aggravated battery at age 17, but the charge was refused. Online Orleans and Jefferson Parish court records do not list any felony convictions or arrests since then.
Alexa McKinnis said her half-brother served in the Army from 2001 to 2008. She believed he was most recently employed as a security officer, although she did not know where.
She spoke to him a week ago when she was sick, and he brought her medicine and a shrimp po-boy, she said.
“If I ever needed anything, I knew I could call him. He was a typical big brother,” she said.
McKinnis’ brother, John Stansberry, said Calvin was a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. He, too, said he was shocked by the police version of events.
“The person that I grew up with under the same roof and that I know, that’s not my brother,” Stansberry, 25, of the police account of the shooting. “It’s not his character. He served for this country.”