Key Documents: Rawlings Evidence
Nearly a year after 14-year-old DeOnté Rawlings was killed by off-duty police officer James Haskel, an internal police investigation cleared him of any criminal wrongdoing. The U.S. Attorney's Office and D.C. police both cited the same justification in their decision: "physical and forensic evidence, autopsy results, ShotSpotter data, and firearms and paint analysis." Below, a guide to key documents in the case.
Haskel's stolen minibike, a key piece of evidence, was missing from the scene of the shooting by the time uniformed police arrived -- just 7 seconds after Haskel left the scene. The minibike was located two days later at the Upper Marlboro home of Bobby McNair, a friend of Haskel's, though police have never said publicly how it got there. Forensic testing produced no fingerprints or DNA evidence linking Rawlings to the bike.
A Sept. 18, 2007, autopsy found that Rawlings died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head. Haskel claimed Rawlings shot at him before he fired his Glock service pistol at the boy, but the autopsy found "no visible blood nor any obvious gunshot residue, powder or soot" on Rawlings's hands and fingers. The boy also had no drugs or alcohol in his system.
An analysis of acoustic evidence gathered from four ShotSpotter sensors near the scene suggested the presence of two shooters, but found that the "complexity of the audio makes it impossible to be certain exactly what happened based on the audio evidence alone." (D.C. police began using ShotSpotter sensors in 2006 to remotely monitor gunfire incidents.)
Haskel said he fired eight rounds from his Glock-17 service pistol during the shooting; seven 9mm casings found at the scene corroborate this account. Haskel also said Rawlings shot at him first from a distance of about 10 feet, but the three .45 casings recovered from the scene -- presumably the second shooter's -- were located near Rawlings body, about 100 feet from where Haskel would have initiated fire. The gun Rawlings was said to have used was never found at the scene.