Durham County

Man killed by Durham police was shot in the back, leg

Kenneth Lee Bailey Jr.
Kenneth Lee Bailey Jr.

A man fatally shot by Durham police in February died from two gunshots to the upper back and right lower leg, according to an autopsy report.

The shot to Kenneth Lee Bailey Jr.’s back pierced his left lung, the sac containing his heart, major blood vessels and his right lung before lodging in his right shoulder.

The autopsy found no soot or stippling, tiny abrasions caused by unexploded particles of gunpowder, near either wound, indicating he was shot from at least a few feet away.

At a press conference earlier this month, Bailey’s mother, Louise Pratt, said witnesses thought Bailey was shot three times.

Although the autopsy found just two fresh gunshot wounds, it found Bailey’s body still contained two small-caliber bullets in his left hip and lower back from prior gunshot wounds.

No drugs or alcohol was found in the body, the autopsy said.

Bailey was shot by police Feb. 15 after three members of the Durham Police Department’s Selective Enforcement Team pulled up to a house on Glenbrook Drive in the Club Boulevard or “Bluefield” public housing community, where Bailey was visiting cousins.

Bailey, 24, was awaiting trial on charges of robbery with a dangerous weapon and felony conspiracy and was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet when Officers Thomas M. Greathouse and Alan G. D’Meza and Cpl. John E. Lloyd came to arrest him for violating his pre-trial curfew after he didn’t come home the night before.

Police say Bailey ran out a door and across the street, with police in pursuit, and pointed a gun at the officers, who then shot him.

At the press conference Pratt, Bailey’s aunt Sharon Chapman, community organizer Nia Wilson of Spirit House, writer and preacher Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, the Rev. Robert Daniels of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church and Diane Standaert of the Durham NAACP said many questions remain.

According to those they spoke with, officers “stormed” the house and never issued any orders to Bailey, and witnesses heard Bailey plead for his life between shots, saying he was down.

Pratt declined to comment on her son’s autopsy Friday, but Hartgrove said it confirms what people in the community told them: that Bailey was shot in the back while still wearing the ankle bracelet.

“Kenny was not a fugitive on the run, but a young man cornered and killed without a trial,” Hartgrove said.

As of earlier this month, the three officers remained on administrative leave with pay pending the Police Department’s internal and State Bureau of Investigation reviews.

Schultz: 919-829-8950

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