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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Autopsy: Mario Woods Was Shot 20 Times, Eight Times in Back

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 4:13 PM

click to enlarge Shot in the back. - WOODS FAMILY
  • Woods family
  • Shot in the back.
Mario Woods died of at least 20 gunshot wounds — including eight shots to the back, buttocks, and back of the head — during his fatal Dec. 2 encounter with San Francisco police, autopsy results released Thursday show.

He also tested positive for traces of methamphetamine, cannabis, and antidepressants, but there is no ready way to determine whether he was under the influence of any drug at the time of his death, according to scientific standards.

Woods, 26, was shot and killed by five San Francisco police officers responding to reports of an earlier stabbing. Inspectors recovered 27 shell casings at the scene of the incident, indicating 27 shots from the officers at Woods, who was armed with a knife.

The stabbing victim, who has not been publicly identified, has told media that a man unknown to him — matching Woods' description — stabbed him in the arm while attempting to enter his vehicle. The victim notified police upon reaching San Francisco General Hospital. 

Responding police located Woods trying to board a Muni bus at Third and Keith streets shortly thereafter. Police attempted to subdue Woods with "less-lethal" ammunition, including beanbag rounds, before he was shot.

Whether Woods was shot after approaching police with his arm raised or was shot while walking away is a matter of contention.

Police say he was shot while approaching police with his arms raised; video presented by civil rights attorney John Burris, who is suing the city and the police department on Woods' family's behalf, suggests that the first shot was fired when Woods had his hands down.

Woods had gunshot wounds to his arm, abdomen, hands, and thighs. He was shot twice in the back of the head, six times in the back, and twice in his buttocks, according to the report. 

As many as 19 wounds had trajectories of "back to front," according to the report, but it's not clear if they were entry or exit wounds.

He was hit at least five times with non-lethal ammunition — once in the chest, once in the hip, and three times in his legs. the results show.

The level of methamphetamine in his body, 0.37 MG/L, suggests recent use but is not indicative of whether he was high at the time, according to federal standards.

"Concentrations do not disclose phase of use," according to the National Transportation and Highway Administration's fact sheet on the drug. "Normal concentrations in recreational use are 0.01 to 2.5 mg/L (median 0.6 mg/L)."

Similarly, the cannabis concentration — 50 nanograms per milliliter — does not reveal if he was high. A regular user may have levels in that range hours or days after use, according to California NORML.

When he died, Woods had no ID on him and three dollars in U.S. currency in his pockets, according to the autopsy report. It was not clear where he was living at the time, though his attorneys have said he was staying in the neighborhood, not far from his former family home. That home was sold eleven months before he died, after his mother signed mortgages with predatory lenders. 

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.

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