by Paul Bowers
UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten sent out a press release "to clarify misinformation or misconceptions" this afternoon. In it, Wooten writes:
The decedent, Denzell Curnell, did not sustain a gunshot wound to the back, but died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head.
The investigation by SLED and the Coroner’s Office is ongoing and until such time as it is complete, I will not make a ruling as to the “manner” of death.
Charleston police will hold a press briefing on the matter at 4:30 p.m. today in the Charleston Police Department Training Room.---
The Charleston Police Department released an incident report today for the shooting death of 19-year-old Denzel "JaBa" Curnell, who died of a gunshot wound he received Friday night at the Bridgeview Village apartment complex.
Witnesses from the neighborhood have said that Curnell was shot by a police officer while kneeling, but the incident report does not state who fired the shots. According to the report, on Fri. June 20 at 10:32 p.m., Officer R.P. Marotta was on patrol in the area of King and Huger streets when Officer J. Medlin requested assistance in reference to shots fired. The report states that Medlin was working a uniformed off-duty assignment at the Bridgeview apartments at the time of the incident.
"Officer Medlin advised that shots had been fired and that a subject was down near building 127 N. Romney St.," the report states. "Officer Medlin further advised that a large crowd was gathering and he needed additional units for crowd control."
Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Marotta writes that Officer Medlin was seen standing on the left side of his police cruiser with an unknown black male lying face down and unresponsive in the street in front of the cruiser. The report notes that a firearm was taken from the scene as evidence, but the report does not say whose gun it was, and the make and model have been redacted.
According to the Post and Courier, CPD officers began collecting forensic evidence at the scene after the shooting rather than calling in agents from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). A spokesman for the state agency said that calling in SLED would have been "a fairly standard practice" for an officer-involved shooting, according to the P&C.