Los Angeles County Coroner's Office – Autopsy of Christopher "Notorious B.I.G" Wallace

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The overall appearance of the body is consistence with recorded height of 74 inches and the recorded weight of 395 pounds. The body appears severely obese, with an extremely protuberant abdomen, and is normally muscular. Skin is essentially unremarkable except for the presence of a few small achrochordons (skin tags) at the right and left bases of the neck, and a slightly larger skin tag on the right side of the scrotum. The occipital scalp contains a large area of nonspecific dermatitis with focal mild hair loss and the presence of multiple small, ill-defined nodules on the scalp. Livor mortis is distributed dorsally and is fixed. Rigor mortis is not present during photography and transportation.

The head is normocephalic and is covered by short, tightly curled black hair with no appreciable balding. There is a thin mustache but no beard. Examination of the eyes reveals brown irides, equal round pupils and extremely injected but otherwise unremarkable sclerae. There are no petechial hemorrhages of the conjunctivae of the eyelids of sclerae. The ears and external auditory canals are unremarkable; earlobs are not pierced. There is a small amount of blood in the nares, without obstruction. The oral cavity is unobstructed. Upper and lower natural teeth are present. The neck is unremarkable. There are no resucitative marks over the precordium. There is no appreciable chest deformity or increased anterior-posterior chest diameter. There are no scars of the chest or abdomen. The abdomen is extremely protuberant due to obesity and contains multiple pale striae anteriorly. The genitalia are those of a circumcised adult male. There is no evidence of trauma to the genitalia or to the anus. No needle tracks are identified. There are no needle punctures that do not appear related to therapeutic procedures. There is no edema of the extremities and no joint deformities are identified.

CLOTHING:

The body is unclothed and no clothing accompanies the body to the Forensic Science Center.

CIRCUMSTANCES:

The following information is obtained from Coroner's Forms 1 and 18 as well as medical records. This 24-year-old male was a passenger in a vehicle when he was shot in a drive-by incident at approximtately 0030 hours on 3-9-97. He was taken to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, arriving in the emergency room at approximately 0048 hours in full arrest and with agonal rhythm. An emergency thoracotomy revealed a large amount of blood and in the chest and in the pericardium, all of which was evacuated. Intracardiac massage and internal defibrillations were performed, with no response, and he was officially pronounced dead at 0115 hours.

Medical records indicate that a bullet was found at the hospital when the body was turned over after pronouncement of death; according to records, this was given to the police. According to LAPD Wilshire Division Detectives Chavez and Balderrama, two bullets were recovered from the hospital, each of which was found on the gurney on which the decedent was lying. The same detectives also reported to the examiner that the bullets passed through a car door before striking the decedent.

EVIDENCE OF INJURY:

The gunshot wounds are arbitrarily numbered for the convenience of the examiner and do not indicate sequence of injury. No soot or stippling is noted in association with any of the entrance gunshot wounds.

Gunshot wound #1:

The entrance wound is located on the dorsal left forearm close to the olecranon process (point of the elbow), 14-1/4 inches from the apex of the shoulder and 5/8 inch distal to the olecranon process. The slightly irregular, ovoid defect measures 15/16 x 1/4 inch and is abraded on all but its most distal aspect. Abrasion rim is largest proximally (3/16 inch maximal width) and at the ulnar aspect (1/4 inch maximal width).

The projectile follows a proximal to distal, slightly dorsal to volar and minimally radial trajectory through the soft tissue of the forearm, passing through soft tissue and muscle. There is no evident fracture of the ulna. The projectile comes to rest approximately 10-1/2 inches distal to the entrance defect in the ulnar aspect of the distal forearm close to the wrist. The projectile is located volar to the ulna. The track is explored and/or probed from beginning to end, showing a mild to moderate amount of hemorrhage along it. There is no evident injury to the ulnar artery.

The bullet is recovered from the above location at 1058 hours. It is a medium caliber lead bullet with a full copper jacket open at the base. The bullet appears slightly compressed. The based is marked with "LS" for identification purposes, and it is placed into evidence envelope #1. A small piece of dark fabric, present at the edge of the entrance wound, is recovered and placed in the same evidence envelope.

This a nonfatal wound since it involved only injury to soft tissue and muscle, with no major vascular involvement.

Gunshot wound #2:

The entry wound is located on the back, 20-3/8 inches from the top of the head and 3-1/2 inches left of midline. The ovoid defect measures 1/4 x 5/16 inch and is abraded on inferior-medial aspect only, to a maximal width of 5/16 inch. The projectile follows a back to front, right to left and upward trajectory, passing shallowly across the soft tissues and muscles of the back towards the left shoulder area. It does not enter the left chest cavity, nor does it fracture any of the ribs or the scapula. (Note: the track is explored along its entirety between the entrance and exit wounds; hemorrhage is present along the track but no other injury is identified). The projectile exits the apex of the left shoulder 8-3/4 inches left of the anterior midline. The exit wound originally appears as a gaping, 1/4 x 5/16 inch slit-like defect; when the edges are apposed, the defect measures approximately 3/8 inch. The edges are abraded in the anterior-lateral aspect, to a maxial width of 1/4 inch.

This is a nonfatal gunshot wound since injury involves soft tissue only.

Gunshot wound #3:

The entry wound is located on the posterior left thigh, 47-1/4 inches from the top of the head, slightly medial to the vertical midline of the thigh. The entrance defect is circular, with a diameter of 5/16 inch. It is surrounded by a continuous margin of abrasion that is largest medially, where it measures 1/8 inch.

The projectile files a back to front, left to right and upward trajectory, passing through the adipose tissue and muscle of the posterior and medial aspects of the thigh without injuring the femoral vessels. (Note: the majority of the path is dissected, revealing a hemorrhagic track through the soft tissue; only the most anterior portion of the track is examined by probing). The projectile exits the anterior left thight medially and proximally, 41-3/4 inches from the top of the head, close to the groin. The exit defect is a 1/3 inch linear slit-like defect with non-abraded, apposable edges. After exiting, the projectile strikes the left side of the scotrum, causing a very shallow, 3/8 inch linear laceration located 2 inches left of the midline. This defect only involves the most superficial aspect of skin (epidermis), with minimal penetration. There is a small amount of hemorrhage in the area. This portion of the scrotum lies directly over the exit defect of the left thigh.

No projectile is recovered. This is considered a nonfatal wound because the track involves tissue only, with no major vascular involvement.

Gunshot wound #4:

The entrance wound is located on the anterolateral right hip, 30 inches from the top of the head and 12 inches right of anterior midline. It is a slightly irregular, ovoid defect measuring 1/2 x 5/16 inch. It is surrounded by a continous, slightly irregular margin of abrasion that is minimal posteriorly and largest in the anterior-inferior aspect, where it has a maximal width of 1/4 inch.

The projectile follows a right to left, slightly back to front and upward trajectory through the abdomen and chest areas. It initially passes through the soft tissue of the right hip area, with no injury to the pelvis, entering the peritoneum in the right lower quadrant. It perforates the ascending colon and the liver, entering the liver inferiorly and exiting it superiorly. It then perforates the right hemidiaphragm and the overlying basilar pericardium. It perforates the heart, entering it at the right atrium near the infrior vena cava, perforating the ventricular septum in the subvalvular area, then exiting the anterior left ventricular wall. The projectile then re-perforates the pericardium and perforates the medial aspect of the upper lobe of the left lung. It then exits the left chest cavity anteriorly by passing through the 3rd rib, which is fractured. It then perforates the soft tissue of the muscle of the left pectoral area, passing through the axillary area to come to rest subcutaneously in the anterior left shoulder area.

The projectile is recovered in the anterior left shoulder area, 14-1/4 inches from the top of the head and 9-3/4 inches left of midline, with subcutaneous adipose tissue, at 1150 hours. It is a medium caliber lead bullet with a full copper jacket that remains open at the base. The bullet appears deformed (flattened) at the nose. The base is marked "LS" for identification purposes, and the bullet is placed into evidence envelope #2.

This is considered a fatal wound due to the multiple visceral injuries (colon, liver, heart, left lung).

EVIDENCE OF MEDICAL INTERVENTION:

A coarsely sutured thoracotomy incision passes below the left breast and enters the left chest cavity through the 6th intercostal space. There is an unsutured cutdown incision in the right groin packed with gauze. There are multiple needle punctures in the right antecubital fossa. A hospital identification bracelet is around the left wrist. Internally, the pericardium has been incised. None of the internal injuries has been repaired.

At the lateral edge of the left breast near the axilla is an irregular, ovoid, shallow skin laceration with minimal to no hemorrhage associated with it, consistent with that having been made by a rib spreader.

IDENTIFYING FEATURES:

One tattoo is identified, located on the volar right forearm. This large tattoo consists of a scroll containing a long verse from the Bible, identified on the tattoo as Psalm 27.

There is a well-healed, arcuate old surgical scar in the left posterior hip area. Slightly above it on the lateral left back is smaller, well-healed apparently surgical scar. On the lateral left thigh, slightly above the knee is a very small well-healed shaft fracture and the present of an orthopedic rod along the left femus, with screws at the proximal and distal ends.

On the dorsal left wrist is a linear well-healed old surgical scar. On the lateral right ankle are ill-defined, hyperpigmented and hypopigmented nonspecific old scars. On the medial left calf and the left anterior skin area are several irregular, flat hyperpigmented nonspecific scars.

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION:

The body is that of an unembalmed Black male adult who appears the stated age of 24 years. The body is identified by toe tags.

The overall appearance of the body is consistent with the recorded height of 74 inches and the recorded weight of 395 pounds. The body appears severely obses, with an exteremly protuberant abdomen, and is normally muscular. Skin is essentially unremarkable except for the presence of a few small acrochordons (skin tags) at the right and left bases of the neck, and a slightly larger skin tag on the right side of the scrotum. The occipital scalp contains a large area of nonspecific dermatitis with focal mild hair loss and the presence of multiple small, ill-defined nodules on the scalp. Livor mortis is distributed dorsally and is fixed. Rigor mortis is not present and presumably has been altered/abolished by prior handling during photography and transporation.

The head is normocephalic and is covered by short, tightly curled black hair with no appreciable balding. There is a thin mustache but no beard. Examination of the eyes reveals brown irides, equal round pupils and extremely injected but otherwise unremarkable sclerae. There are no petechial hemorrhages of the conjunctivae of the eyelids of sclerae. The ears and external auditory canals are unremarkable; earlobs are not pierced. There is a small amount of blood in the nares, without obstruction. The oral cavity is unobstructed. Upper and lower natural teeth are present. The neck is unremarkable. There are no resucitative marks over the precordium. There is no appreciable chest deformity or increased anterior-posterior chest diameter. There are no scars of the chest or abdomen. The abdomen is extremely protuberant due to obesity and contains multiple pale striae anteriorly. The genitalia are those of a circumcised adult male. There is no evidence of trauma to the genitalia or to the anus. No needle tracks are identified. There are no needle punctures that do not appear related to therapeutic procedures. There is no edema of the extremities and no joint deformities are identified.

CLOTHING:

The body is unclothed and no clothing accompanies the body to the Forensic Science Center.

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